Our partnership with VIDA: Women in Literary Arts is hitting its second phase! We launched the project at this year’s orientation and at our Celebration for International Day of the Girl, and have been continuing to analyze the data ever since.
We were excited to chat with Lynn Melnick of VIDA about the ongoing project, who was just as excited as we are about the partnership’s potential to help girls better explore the books on their high school syllabi: “It is so important to build awareness of gender bias at a young age because students take these biases with them into the rest of their lives. In a literary climate where, in some cases, men receive 85% of the bylines and/or book review coverage, we all need to start questioning why that is. Our hope is that the next generation of writers and editors will not think of white men as the “standard bearers” for literary achievement. We are really excited to see the results of the girls’ counts and to help curate the conversation about what those results mean!”
We’ve been just as eager to dig into the data, and wanted to share some snapshots with you. Here’s what we’ve found so far:
“I feel these books are not meant to be representative of life, but to expand our view of life.” –Eda Tse, Class of 2015
“To Kill a Mockingbird is relevant to my life because it involves racism and the things that have been silenced for years.” –Cassandra Williams, Class of 2016
“The Color Purple is so important because it shows the portrayal of women, especially black women. It’s representattive of my community because I live in a place where discrimination occurs a lot to women, especially minorities.” –Yesmi Ipolance, Class of 2016
Stay tuned for more developments in early 2015, as we continue checking in with our teens about their literary environments!