CWILA Count 2014

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On October 8th, CWILA introduced the results of their annual Count for 2014 – the largest count yet. Erin Wunker writes that since its first Count in 2012 until its fourth Count in 2014, CWILA has seen “a marked shift in in the gendered representation in Canada’s literary review.” What Wunker calls “CWILA effect” is visible – there has been a “quantifiable shift in gender representation in those publications we review year after year,” she explains.

This project relies on 42 volunteers to manually input and verify all the data, which is why the scope of the Count is limited. In the 2014 Count 5,866 book reviews published across 32 Canadian journals and newspapers, including five French-language publications, were counted. Fiction and non-fiction books comprise the majority of the books reviewed.


The results show that:

  • the number of women reviewing books increased – it is now near-equal to male reviewers
  • women occupy less review space than men
  • male reviewers are more likely to review books written by men


Judith Scholes, the Count Director, writes that “while reviewing statistics overall and within many publications show improvement, our results this year confirm one of our more alarming statistics from previous years: men are reviewing men’s books far more than women’s books,” whereas the gender gap is not so strong among women reviewers.

The 2014 Count also tracked the genre of the reviewed books. The results show that “there is a glaring omission of women’s non-fiction books in Canadian review culture” (Scholes) – it comprises only 29% of the 2,431 reviews of non-fiction.

For more information about the 2014 Count, please consult numbers here, infographic here and the methodology here.

In Judith Scholes’ words, the 2014 numbers reveal “where equitable access and representation exists and where it can be improved, which can be a powerful impetus for change” as the CWILA Count seeks to “spark a conversation about how to build more equitable critical culture.”


Works Cited

Scholes, Judith. “2014 CWILA Count Methodology.” Canadian Women in the Literary Arts 08 Oct 2015. Web. 08 Oct 2015.

Wunker, Erin. “The CWILA Effect.” Canadian Women in the Literary Arts 8 Oct 2015. Web. 08 Oct 2015.