This year's list of Hugo nominees was released in April (congratulations to all nominees!), but I didn't look at it carefully until now.
And I'm pleasantly surprised to see that this year's ballot features the highest-ever percentage of fiction works that are by women, at 53%.
I've updated my page of Hugo-nominated-fiction author gender stats, and extended the range of the early end of the list while I was at it. And updated the graph on that page; made it a slightly interactive Google Spreadsheets chart. Also added some notes about the earliest-nominated and earliest-winning works by women.
I also noticed that the last year when there was no fiction by women on the ballot was 1971.
This year is not the first time that 50% or more of the nominated fiction has been by women; that previously happened in 1992 and 1993. But not only has it not happened recently, this year is the first time since 1993 that the percentage has been over 40%, and only the second time since 1993 that it's been over 35%, and the second time since 1997 that it's been over 30%.
Also interesting: this year had the largest number of valid nominating ballots ever, beating last year's record by over 15%. This year is the first time there've ever been over a thousand valid nominating ballots, and only the third time there've been more than 800.
Which may explain why there are only four stories in the short-story category this year. Per the official rules, to appear on the ballot in a given category, a work must get at least 5% of the number of ballots cast in that category. This year, there were 515 short-story ballots, so short stories needed to get at least 26 votes to make the ballot, and only four stories did so out of the 430 stories that were nominated. If the number of nominating ballots continues to grow over time, it'll be interesting to see if this continues to happen. There are a lot of short stories being published these days.
Then again, there's something else unusual about these last two years: a large number of Australian nominators. I don't know whether that's influenced any of the other ways in which last year's and this year's nominations have been unusual. I will be interested to see what happens next year; I hope that the number of nominating ballots and the number of fiction works by women on the ballot remain high.