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More Hugo gender stats

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I really wasn't paying attention this year when the Hugo nominees were announced, and so I was completely oblivious to the fact that, for the first time in over a decade, more than a third of the nominated fiction works were written by women.

I'm sure there was plenty of discussion of this at the time, but I missed it. So at WorldCon, I looked at the nominees list and was pleasantly surprised by the number of such works.

I've now updated my page about Hugo gender stats, to include not only 2010 but the 1990s. The original version of my table had gone back only as far as 1997, which made it look like 1997 and 1999 were unusually high; going back to 1991 makes clear that what was normal changed significantly between (roughly) the 1990s and the 200s. In 1992 and 1993, 50%+ of the nominated fiction works were by women!

See the linked page for details.

On a side note, there were a couple of unusual things about the nominations this year:

First, there were more nominating ballots than there've ever been before. (The chart on that page shows data back to 1991; for older data, see George Flynn's “Hugo Voting: Let's Look at the Record (Again).” See also my 2007 entry about nominating ballot numbers.) However, this doesn't appear to be relevant to the gender issue, because the two previous unusual high numbers of nominating ballots were in 2003 and 2009, years that didn't have large numbers of female Hugo nominees.

Second, there were a lot of ties in nomination categories, but I'm gonna move that to a separate entry because it too isn't relevant to the gender issue.

Anyway, my point in posting this entry is primarily to say I'm pleased at how many works by women were on the ballot this year; and secondarily to point to my updated stats page. Someday I still hope to put all the data into a database that would allow for all sorts of interesting queries, but not likely to do that anytime soon.

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The biggest surprise for me this year, at least as I was reading through the novel nominees, was that two of them (Palimpsest and Julian Comstock) had significant GLBT content. I don't recall ever having such GLBT-friendly novels amongst the nominees before.

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