Last year I started tracking diversity in the books I read. It wasn’t exactly good news.
It became apparent that race and gender diversity only happen when you’re intentional about it.
I tracked both the gender and race this year. I base gender simply on the author, counting a book if any contributor is a woman. For race I count a book if a contributor or main character is a person of color.
Here are the results for 2015:
- 54% POC books
- 56% female authors.
Here’s how diverse my reading has been since 2001:
And here are the actual numbers:
If you want to read more, check out my booklet 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading Again.
Last week I looked at diversity in my reading going back to 2001. I simply looked at racial diversity, assuming gender diversity wasn’t a big deal anymore.
Out of curiosity, I went back and charted gender diversity.
Turns out I’ve been lacking gender diversity as well:
- This is a little more straight-forward to chart than racial diversity. For books with multiple authors, I counted them if any of the contributors were women.
- 2014 is the only year I’ve read more women than men (54%). The only other years that come close are 2008 with 45% (that happens to be the year I re-read the entire Harry Potter series, accounting for 7 of the 9 books authored by a woman) and 2013 with 42%.
- Most years I’m sitting between a quarter and a third of my books written by female authors.
- For a few years I only read two or three female authors. In my lame defense, I didn’t read many books that year. But the ratio was still around 10% or less. Ouch.
- I’ve read a lot more YA and middle grade fiction recently, and I wonder if that has accounted for my recent spike in women authors. There tend to be a lot more women authors in YA and middle grade.
Clearly, more proof that diversity doesn’t happen by accident.
I believe diversity matters. We’re better when we hear from a diverse range of voices. But if we’re not intentional about embracing diversity, it doesn’t happen.
I got my We Need Diverse Books swag in the mail today, my reward for supporting their highly successful Indiegogo project.
I read a lot of books last year (203, not that I’m bragging), and I was curious how diverse my selections were. I made an effort to read more diverse books in 2014 (in part thanks to We Need Diverse Books), but I was also curious about previous years as well.
So here’s a chart of the diversity of my reading going back to 2001:
Continue reading Why We Must Pursue Diverse Books →