The pilot study of the cross-association working group Diversity in Literature (participating associations: Bücherfrauen e.V. - Women in Publishing, Mörderische Schwestern e.V., Netzwerk Autorenrechte, PEN-Zentrum Deutschland, Verband deutscher Schriftstellerinnen und Schriftsteller in ver.di) aims to uncover structural problems in the literary sector and to contribute to improving gender equality in the literary sector. For the study, more than 2,000 reviews and literary criticism in print media, radio and television were analysed.


The following questions were examined in particular:

  •     Are there differences in how often and/or how extensively works by female and male authors are reviewed?
  •     Do specific characteristics exist here that can be attributed to the gender of the person reviewing?
  •     Which genres are reviewed by whom and to what extent, and can significance of gender distribution be detected in this?


Some of the most important results:

  •     2/3 of the books reviewed in all media (with the exception of women's magazines) are written by men
  •     There are more male reviewers than female reviewers and male reviewers mainly review books by men. This tendency is particularly striking in the genres of non-fiction and crime fiction. In the genre of non-fiction, only every fifth book reviewed by a reviewer is written by a woman.
  •     In the genre of children's and young adult literature, the gender balance is bigger. However, this genre is reviewed very little overall. Only 7% of the reviews in the dataset were of children's and young adult books, while 32% reviewed non-fiction, for example.


www.frauenzä – Pilotstudie zur Sichtbarkeit von Frauen in Medien und im Literaturbetrieb, Institut für Medienforschung der Universität Rostock