Sep. 29th, 2015

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Author Gender Distribution by Award

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This project demonstrates that SFF books by or about cis women are less likely to win awards than books by or about cis men. Trans and nonbinary authors win in vanishingly small numbers, and trans or nonbinary protagonists are extremely rare. Overall, there were more award-winning books written by cis men about cis men than there were books by women about anybody. While there have been recent gains in terms of diversity in awarded books, this is likely part of a cycle of gains and pushback that has repeated itself throughout the history of SFF awards. SFF awards have a problem when it comes to gender: they privilege cis men and the cis male experience over that of cis women and trans and nonbinary individuals.


I am [personal profile] justira and I am the lead editor on this project. I collaborated on it with [personal profile] renay (Data Monkey & Culture Consultant) and [personal profile] owlmoose (Reality Checker), whose help was invaluable. We would also like to thank Kate Elliot, Niall Harrison, and Paul Weimer, who helped us in some cases where we were unsure about protagonist gender. Finally, we'd like to thank Nicola Griffith for her support of this project and for starting the conversation about this.

I've been wanting to look at gender breakdowns in SFF awards for a while, and then Nicola Griffith did her post about gender and awards, and it showed exactly what I was afraid of. But I wanted more — I wanted all the major SFF awards, for the life of each award. This post represents over 100 hours of work by me and over 130 hours total spent researching awards, authors, and books.

This post is limited to considerations of protagonist and author gender. While race and sexuality might be other interesting measures, information on these is less likely to be publicly available, and so fell outside the scope of this particular project. All our data is public; readers are encouraged to build on this project and create their own metrics.

This post is also available on tumblr. We also have a twitter hashtag: #SFprizedata.

This post has a corrections comment thread where we will make note of all corrections and edits to the post. Before commenting, please check the corrections thread to see if your point has been addressed.

When commenting, please follow the Lady Business Comment Policy.

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