There's been a fair bit of discussion about the number of female authors nominated for Hugo awards in the fiction categories. I wrote a journal entry in 2007 that discussed the issue and provided some stats.
I want to keep the stats up-to-date without going back and changing that journal entry, so I've moved the stats to this separate page.
The following table includes data only from the four prose fiction categories: Best Novel, Best Novella, Best Novelette, and Best Short Story.
(*In 1989, one of the originally announced nominations was later deleted. I can't find info on the gender of one of the authors, but since the nomination became unofficial anyway, I just left it out of my count.)
(**In 1966, there was an “All-Time Series” category, but I'm not including that in my numbers.)
Here's a graph of that percentage column:
It might be fun to correlate this with numbers about percentages of works by women published in a given year, and reviewed in a given year, and with nominator turnout each year, and so on. But that would be a big database project that I don't have time to put together.
I used to have a comment here talking about trends I saw in the data; for example, the average from 1991 through 2001 is significantly higher than the average from 2002 through 2009. But on looking at the full range of data, I now think that the trends depend a great deal on what ranges of years you look at; I'm not convinced that there are any clear patterns in the overall data set.
It's also worth noting that in a field of only about 20 works each year (and a lot less in some years), every work by a woman is about a 5% difference (or sometimes more). So the difference between, for example, 19% (2002) and 24% (2001) is a difference of only one work.
A couple of historical notes:
- The last year when there were no fiction works by women on the ballot at all was 1971.
- The first pieces of fiction by women to appear on a Hugo ballot were Zenna Henderson's “Captivity,” Pauline Ashwell's “Unwillingly to School,” and Katherine MacLean & Charles V. De Vet's “Second Game,” all in 1959, the first year that there was a separate nominating ballot. (Before that, there were no nominees as such, only winners, according to Wikipedia.)
- The first fiction work by a woman to win a Hugo was Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness in 1970.
At any rate, I'm hoping that 2010 through 2013 were the start of a trend of more works by women being nominated.
Various approaches might help with that. For example:
- Help get more girls interested in reading and writing science fiction and fantasy, and/or in math and science.
- If you're a female writer, write and submit more.
- If you're an editor, regardless of your own gender, stretch your editorial boundaries and see if that results in your publishing more works by women.
- Read more works by women, if you don't already. (Thanks to Liz H for pointing out that I hadn't included this on my original list.)
- Recommend more works by women, in places like the hugo_recommend LJ community.
- Become a WorldCon member and nominate more works by women (but only the ones you consider awardworthy, of course).
- Join Broad Universe.
Note: I'm not advocating quotas, lowering standards, or anything of the sort; the approaches I'm suggesting are part of a long ongoing discussion of ways to get more female authors published and recognized in the field. See, for example, my 2006 entry on gender bias and sf.