Tina Fey's "dream for the future" that Tamblyn quotes ("that sketch comedy shows will become a gender-blind meritocracy of whoever is really the funniest") is also my dream for the literary world ("that journals and presses and magazines will become a gender blind meritocracy of whoever is really the best"), but "funniest" and "best" are always value judgments completely conditioned by context. (Who have you seen be funny on TV? Dudes. Who are you taught to read in school? Men.) So, sadly, it's still a dream, not a reality, and it's a dream that the stats from VIDA (and "Numbers Trouble" a few years back) shook people out of. And although we have pledges from many editors to do better, we still don't have a lot of solutions being thought up, which is troubling. Look what happened when symphonies started holding gender-blind auditions: http://www.princeton.edu/pr/pwb/01/0212/7b.shtml
So, until wider change comes about, women-only presses and journals are still necessary.
My response to people saying "Things should change" is usually to ask, "How can we start making the change happen right now?"
And so now I'm wondering what would happen if we took the example of symphony orchestras and asked presses, magazines, and journals to make their submission systems blind. When there was a lot of brouhaha on Foetry.com and elsewhere about judges choosing former students, etc., the CLMP created a recommended guideline that member presses could adopt, which asked former students or close friends of the judge to refrain from submitting. This language is now standard in many contest guidelines.
What if it became standard to read submissions blind, which programs like Submishmash could help editors do easily?
This doesn't solve the issues of soliciting writers, or writers who send query letters to certain types of publications, but it seems easy enough for small presses, magazines, and journals.
What do you think?