It's the end of June, so it's time once again for some stats on submissions by author gender.
Approximately 1250 stories have been submitted to Strange Horizons in the first six months of 2003. Of those:
- 59% were written by men;
- 34% were written by women;
- 7% were written by authors of unknown (to me) gender.
These percentages almost exactly match the percentages for the first three months of the year; in fact, little has changed in any of the numbers since my first posting on gender stats in our submissions.
As a side note, of the stories currently on our 2003 schedule (covering roughly ten months), exactly half are by men and half by women. We don't give preferential treatment by gender; it's just happened to work out to be half-and-half so far, which pleases me immensely. (The percentage in past years of stories by women (among stories we've published) has been a little lower; recently, it was briefly a bit higher for the 2003 schedule, but the last couple of stories we've accepted happened to be by men.)
At the WisCon panel on this subject, one of the panelists (editor of TOTU, maybe? I'm blanking) said that he has an explicit policy of gender balance in his TOCs. It could be seen as a sort of affirmative action: if you've got more publishable-quality stories than you can take (we certainly do), then it seems reasonable to me in the abstract to make author gender one factor to consider when choosing which of those stories you're going to take. At the same time, I admit that I'd be a little uncomfortable implementing such a policy myself; it would be too easy for someone to (incorrectly) conclude that a story was chosen primarily because of the author's gender. But we've been (imo) lucky enough in our tastes to make this not an issue for us; we pick the stories that we like the best and are the most interested in publishing, and (to my pleased surprise) the gender balance seems to take care of itself.