The New Yorker Gender Tally (2013-2023): Final Report

The New Yorker Gender Tally (2013-2023): Final Report

A 10-year look at who did what, issue by issue

The New Yorker Gender Tally looked at The New Yorker magazine contributors by gender from 2013-2023. Here’s what you need to know:

Results are reported in the following order: women, men, people who are non-binary, and a catch-all category referred to as Other.[1] Assumptions were made about gender based on a person’s name until the February 11, 2019 issue included a cartoon by Ellie Black. This was the first instance I’d noted they/them pronouns and I added the category to the Gender Tally. 

From 2019 on, I determined gender by verifying the pronouns of each contributor. I did not return to prior years to determine whether there were other contributors who were non-binary. However, while I did make assumptions for the first half of the Gender Tally, I always researched names that were ambiguous.

The value of tallying a magazine is not in how the numbers play out between issues but a sustained look over time. The publication of a magazine is a heroic task. A weekly magazine more so. I have the utmost respect for, awe of and gratitude for The New Yorker staff. 

Each year of the Gender Tally has a summary graphic of all results in that year.[2] If a category on these graphics does not include a count for people who are non-binary from 2019 onward, it is because only women and men were published.

I tallied my 2013 issues in 2023 to conclude the year with a Gender Tally with a 10-year data set. This is important only if you’ve been with me all along and are accustomed to a 2014 baseline.[3] 

David Remnick has been editor of The New Yorker since 1998. Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn was named deputy editor in May 2020 (a position Pam McCarthy held since 1995). Dorothy Wickenden was executive editor from 1996-2022.


My timing for tracking gender representation in The New Yorker seems destined. I was a new subscriber in 2012 and noticed that more men were being published in the “Letters to the Editor” section. The next year I also looked at who created the covers. In 2014, I dove all in, tallying the major sections of the magazine and adding new categories to match my curiosity as the years added up. 

When I began, I watched the gender gap widen with every issue. Men far outpaced women in all nine categories tracked. I learned quickly the futility of reading too much into fluctuations between issues or even between months. I saw gained ground lost and vice versa. The longitudinal results, however, showed steady improvement and my Gender Tally captured that transition. It also captured the societal shift in pronoun usage. In 2019, Merriam-Webster named "they" the word of the year and it was the first year I noted contributors who are non-binary.[4]

Over the years people asked what I considered success in terms of gender representation in The New Yorker. Success to me is when one gender does not always prevail, a time when numbers swing between 40-60% with non-binary voices increasing over time.

Should you be curious about the numbers prior to 2013, The New Yorker archives are a mere subscription away. Be that change! (I’m happy to share my spreadsheet.)

Read on for my analysis of each section, starting with the most iconic part of this magazine.


Françoise Mouly has been the covers editor since 1993.


The biggest surprise in adding a year to the official start of my Gender Tally last year was that women created nine of the 47 covers in 2013. This single-handedly ruined my narrative of nearly continuous improvement given a baseline of three covers by women in 2014. Bruce McCall had double that on his own in 2014 and Barry Blitt had five covers. Legendary illustrator and cartoonist Saul Steinberg died in 1999 and had two covers in 2014. It took four years for women to nab nine covers again in 2017. If anything makes me wary of drawing conclusions from a data set, it is 2014’s plummet. 

One more thing about those covers by women in 2014: Each was associated with something stereotypically female. Ana Juan's March 24 cover was a butterfly. Roz Chast covered the Mother's Day issue, and her second cover landed August 4: “Venus at the Beach.”

2015 marked the magazine’s 90th anniversary and its anniversary issue (February 23 & March 2) featured nine different covers.[5] Two of the nine were created by women (Roz Chast and Anita Kunz). Birgit Schössow’s “Flatiron Icebreaker” claimed the next cover on March 9 then men grabbed the year’s remaining 37. Women illustrated four covers [6] total in 2015 while four men had four or more covers each: Barry Blitt (6), Mark Ulriksen (5), Bruce McCall (4) and Christoph Niemann (4). My Gender Tally included all nine covers (55 total for the year). This old news might not seem relevant but it’s important to note because it skews the overall numbers as well as artist totals. There are typically 47 or 48 issues a year.  

Two of the four covers of The New Yorker that placed in the top 10 in the 2017 American Society of Magazine Editors’ 12th Best Cover Contest were created by women: Malika Favre’s “Coding 101” and Abigail Gray Schwartz’s “The March.” (The other two winners were David Plunkert’s “Blowhard” and Barry Blitt’s “Eustace Vladimirovich Tilley.”)

2018 marked the second time a Black woman created a cover for the magazine. Loveis Wise’s artistry appeared on the June 4 & 11 double issue more than a decade after Kara Walker commemorated the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina (August 27, 2007 issue).[7]

Women covered the magazine 15 times in 2023, the most in the span of this tally. There were 48 issues in 2023, and women illustrated nearly a third of them (31%). That’s a far cry from 2014 when women were responsible for three covers and only added one more in 2015. 

Barry Blitt had the most covers in 2023 (four) and handily the most in the Gender Tally’s 10-year span (63). Four men had 21 or covers since 2013: Mark Ulriksen (30), Christoph Neimann (28), Kadir Nelson (26) and Bruce McCall (21). During this same span, Malika Favre’s 14 covers were the most by a woman and only Malika Favre (2016 and 2019) and Diana Ejaita (2021) had three covers in one year.

Five of the 27 women who created the 531 covers since 2013 did so eight or more times: Malika Favre (14); Roz Chast (11); and Ana Juan, Diana Ejaita and Gayle Kabaker (8). This same span had 20 of 72 men with eight or more covers. 

Lest you believe covering The New Yorker is a gateway to more covers, 35 of the 96 cover artists from 2013-2023 had only one cover (11 women, 24 men). 

No covers were created by a person who is non-binary or listed as a collaboration or agency.


Christine Curry has been the illustration editor since 1983.

Not only did the number of illustrations by women expand over the course of the Gender Tally, but so too did the volume of illustrations overall, peaking at 509 in 2019. 

In 2023, the number of illustrations dipped for the third year and settled at 379, the lowest amount since 2014 (358). Illustrations in the magazine overall dropped from a Gender Tally-high 509 in 2019 to 395 in 2020. I initially considered it a pandemic plunge, but it appears to be a more permanent shift.

This category is another area where the late addition of 2013 data marred my narrative of continuous gain. In 2013, 60 of the 368 illustrations were created by women (16%) vs. 49 of 358 (14%) the following year. Another reminder that baselines are dependent on the year you choose to start with. 

A treasured Gender Tally milestone was in 2021 when women had more illustrations than men (211 vs. 206 by men), a first since the Gender Tally’s inception and the only occurrence. This represented half of all illustrations that year, a high point as well (50%). 

The first illustration noted by an artist who is non-binary was in 2019 and 23 illustrations are included in this 10-year data set. After a spike of seven in 2020, illustrations by artists who are non-binary dropped to four in 2021 and took one step forward each year since.

Illustrations created by studios, collaborations between different genders, or my inability to confirm gender are represented in a fourth category, Other. It is rare that I surrendered the search without identifying gender, but it happened. I did not track studio work vs. collaborations separately. This is only a regret in that I am now curious. 

I added a breakout of the artwork in the “Goings On About Town” section in 2018 after noticing that my escalating hopes for a female majority at the start of each issue were thwarted by the end. The section that first year included 82 illustrations created by women out of 116 (49%) and even more the next year (126 of 205, a whopping 61%).

This section also showed a reduction in illustrations overall after a high of 205 in 2019. In 2020, only 118 illustrations were published which was less than all illustrations by women in the previous year (126). The final year of the Gender Tally marked the lowest number of illustrations since this category was tallied in 2018 (92). I initially attributed this decline to the pandemic closure of many New York City venues; however, it looks like a change in procedure. 

Thirteen illustrations by people who are non-binary have been published in this front section since 2019 when three appeared. Six were published in 2020. None were published in 2023.

While main illustrations for feature articles continued their downward trajectory in 2021 (78 vs. 106 in 2018 when this category was added to the Gender Tally), the percentage of illustrations by women climbed to 34% in 2021 and 2022 before dipping to 29% in 2023. This remains a nice bump from 27% and 28% in 2020 and 2019, respectively. Overall, the representation improved over time.


Lastly, “Spots” are the series of illustrations spread throughout the magazine that accommodate page layout. This section eeked out “Covers” for the worst gender representation. Eleven of the 48 issues containing Spots illustrations in 2023 were illustrated by women (23%) that equals the percentage in 2018 and 2019. It is not the worst year on record, though, the first four years tallied were in single digits.  

No Spots were created by a person who is non-binary.


Joanna Milter has been the photo editor since 2015.

I added photographs to the Gender Tally in 2018 thanks to Daniella Zalcman and her Women Photograph project.[8] Of the 203 photographs published in 2021, 78 were taken by women (38%) and five were by a photographer who is non-binary. The magazine included slightly more photographs overall than 2020 (203 vs. 192) but the last two years turned downward and finished at 182 in 2023. Illustrations reflected a similar downturn.

The number of main photographs accompanying feature stories varied little over time but 2023 marked a high point (80). In 2023, women snapped 34% of the photographs in this section (27 of 80) just below the high of 35% in 2020 (26 of 75). Two photos were by a person who is non-binary and 10 were collaborations of mixed gender, collectives or agencies.

While photographs by women climbed each year in “Goings On About Town,” they hit a new low in 2023 (73). However, women shot 51% of the photographs in this subset in 2023, a Gender Tally high. In 2018, the first year this subset was tallied, women took a quarter of the photos (23 of 91). Seven of the 501 photos in this section were taken by a photographer who is non-binary with three in 2021 and zero in 2023.

Photo Illustrations

Photo illustrations are photographs manipulated to create something new. They were not common in The New Yorker during the span of the Gender Tally, but the years to come might tell a different story given their proliferation in 2023 when 21 were published. The previous high was nine in 2020 and 2021.

Women created 11 of the 21 photo illustrations in 2023 (51%). Of the 55 photo illustrations tallied during the Gender Tally, 40% were by women (22) and one was composed by an artist who is non-binary. Should you need another reminder of the importance of not declaring success based on one year’s final tally: women composed five of nine photo illustrations in 2020 (54%) vs. 22% in 2021 (2 of 9).

The number of photo illustrations accompanying feature stories also reached an apex in 2023, jumping from four in 2021 to 15. Women composed 6 of 15 (40%). (Do not be fooled by that yellow bar on the graph below. It represents only one photo illustration.

Photo illustrations in the “Goings On About Town” section were added in 2020 because there were two that year. However, no more appeared

Humor and Cartoons

Emma Allen has been the humor and cartoon editor since May 2017. She replaced cartoon editor Bob Mankoff. 

Of all sections of the magazine, the cartoons hold my greatest focus. I look to them first and feel the gender imbalance most. The total number and percentages of cartoons by women improved over time. Seeing the percentage by cartoonists who are women climb from 15% in 2014 to 40% in 2020 did my heart good. Adding a year to the start of the Gender Tally extended the arc but seeing the percentage drop to 36% in 2021 then 33% before finishing back at 36% gives me new pause. Surely this gap can narrow more.

Cartoons by women peaked in 2020 with 275. In 2013, there were 102. Eight issues from 2014-2016 did not include any cartoons by women. Particularly galling (yet sadly ironic) was the absence of any cartoons by women in the 90th Anniversary issue (February 23-March 23, 2015).

Nine cartoonists who are women were responsible for those 102 cartoons published in 2013. Roz Chast and Barbara Smaller combined for 61% of them (33 and 29, respectively). In 2023, 58 cartoonists who are women had 259 cartoons published. However, 18 of them appeared only once (31%).

Eight cartoonists who are women had cartoons published in each year of the 10-year Gender Tally. Four women created 56% of them: Roz Chast (367), Liana Finck (257), Barbara Smaller (146) and Emily Flake (142).

Midway through 2015, I noticed cartoons by women had not exceeded three per issue for a quite a while. I dove back into my archives and found that “a while” was actually all the way back to the October 27, 2014 issue. On Twitter, I referred to this as Cartoon Cap. It lasted until the October 12, 2015 issue when women drew six of the 19 total cartoons.

When I first started counting, I thought maybe women just needed to submit more cartoons. Today I know better. In 2016, eight cartoonists who are women were published three or fewer times. The previous two years included five cartoonists who were not published in 2016. It’s hard to believe these 13 cartoonists stopped being funny at the same time.

If you want to learn more about cartoonists in The New Yorker who are women, Liza Donnelly’s updated and revised Very Funny Ladies is highly recommended.[9] 

To my knowledge, 2017 was the first time women created more than half of the published cartoons in a single issue. Eight of the 14 cartoons in the December 4 issue were by women.[10] The November 5, 2018 issue marked the second time that cartoons by women outnumbered men (6 of 11). There were also four issues in 2018 where women and men were equally represented.

I touted happy news for cartoon lovers a few years ago by announcing that more cartoons were published in 2021 (700). This was welcome relief since 2020 issues included only 682, the lowest total cartoons published during my Gender Tally. Unknown until tallying 2013 issues last year, though, was that the highest volume of cartoons appeared in 2013 (779).

Fewer cartoons by women were published in 2021 (254 vs. 276 in 2020) and the percentage by women traveled south as well (36% vs. 40% in 2020). This marked the first slide since numbers started climbing in 2015 (108). Allen’s first full year at the helm in 2018 included 252 cartoons by women. In 2014, there were only 112 cartoons by women (15%). NOTE: Some of this could be attributed to year-end issues that now focus heavily on cartoons.That could be checked but has not been yet.

Ellie Black’s cartoon in the February 11, 2019 issue was the first I noted by a cartoonist who is non-binary. Black had seven by year-end and Mads Horwath added one of their own. Forty cartoons by three cartoonists who are non-binary were published since 2019, with a high of 11 in 2023. 

In 2021, Black and Mads Horwath had three cartoons each published. Since 2019, three cartoonists who are non-binary published 38 cartoons: Black (22), Horwath (17), and Lillie Harris (1). 

Roz Chast was the most prolific woman in this category every year of the Gender Tally. 2023, however, represented her lowest volume. Her highest point was 2019 when her cartoons appeared in all but two of the 48 issues. Until 2023, if a cartoon by Roz Chast was not featured it often meant she illustrated the cover or had a stand-alone illustration elsewhere in the magazine. In 2018, only two issues lacked her signature style and only one issue in 2019 did not include her work. 

The Gender Tally logged same-sex collaborations within their common gender. Allen’s arrival as editor coincided with a rise in cartoon collaborations across gender lines. The final year of the Gender Tally saw 18 collaborations between women and men (vs. 12 in 2022). Allen also ushered in a flurry of new cartoonists. In 2018, 8 of the 12 cartoonists added by Allen were women.[11]

Lastly, “Shouts and Murmurs” twice set my heart a-flutter by including 21 pieces by women in 2015 (47%) and 2019 (44%). Unfortunately, these numbers did not last.

In 2023, women penned 10 of the 45 (22%) which was on par with 9 of the 43 (21%) in 2021, the lowest percentage in Gender Tally history. After incorporating data for 2013, a new low was established: 5 of 43 (12%).

No Shouts were written by a person who is non-binary.

Talk of the Town 

Susan Morrison replaced Lizzie Widdicombe as the “Talk of the Town” editor in 2019.

“Talk of the Town” lead stories are tracked separately because they are opinion pieces typically responding to current events and feel more significant. In 2021, 26 of the 48 lead articles were written by women (54%). This marked the second time in the span of this tally that women wrote more lead articles than men (58% in 2019).

One piece was written by a person who is non-binary. It was published in 2022.


The number of non-lead pieces written by women in 2023 dropped after a rally in 2022 (70 from 76). This is a sad stretch since women wrote more non-lead pieces than men in 2018 (97 of 191), the first and only time in the Gender Tally’s scope. 

Five pieces were written by a person who is non-binary. They were all published in 2022.


Dorothy Wickenden has been the executive editor since 1996.

I tallied the features, or the main articles, quickly via the Table of Contents. Representation inched forward over the years, hitting a high in 2023 with 89 of 140 pieces written by women. Eleven pieces from 2013-2023 were written by a person who is non-binary. 

This section is most notable and valuable to me because of the writers I found here. Robert Caro. Elizabeth Kolbert. Jill Lepore. John McPhee. Rachel Louis Snyder. There are too many to list so I stop there. 

I own all of John McPhee’s books because of this section. I have not read all of them yet because I need to live in a world where I can read John McPhee for the first time as long as possible. Robert Caro’s collected works are also on my bookshelf (all read) because I fell hard for him in this section. The New Yorker changed who I read and, in turn, helped me become a better version of me.



Deborah Treisman has been the fiction editor since 2002.

Women wrote 32 of the 49 short stories published in 2023 (65%). This was not the first time women pierced the glass meridian. In 2017, women wrote 26 of the 49 short stories (53%). One story was written by a writer who is non-binary. 

“Briefly Noted” is the sidebar in the back of each issue containing short book reviews. More than half of the books reviewed in this section were by women (776 of 1,504). This is my favorite chart. It shows movement without big swings in representation. Six books by writers who are non-binary have been reviewed since 2019.  

In 2017, I added translators in the “Briefly Noted” section to the Gender Tally. Women reviewed 84 of the 170 reviewed books translated in this time period (49%). While women translated the same number of books in 2023 as 2017 (10), nine fewer translated books were reviewed. The only book translated by a person who is non-binary appeared in 2021.



Kevin Young replaced Paul Muldoon as poetry editor in 2017.

Ah, poetry. I always end year-end summaries with this section not because poetry is an afterthought but because the gender representation in this section has sustained me I added it to the Gender Tally in 2015. Women composed 451 of the 852 poems printed since 2017 (53%). I remain delighted that women composed 63% of the published poems in 2022 (59 of 96). Seven poems were composed by people who are non-binary. 

In honor and memory of Carol Shields

I am not the first to track gender in The New Yorker. Others noticed the discrepancies. Carol Shields talked about her tallies in a 2002 conversation with Eleanor Wachtel:[12]

SHIELDS: … I spend a lot of my time thinking about it and a lot of my time counting, counting how many men are mentioned, say on the front page of a newspaper as against how many women, counting men in photographs of some new committee, counting members of Parliament. We all know that the number of women has slipped downward. So I seem to be counting all the time. It’s a great burden. It’s an irritation. I wish I didn’t have to do it, but I’m too conscious of it not to think about it. 

WACHTEL: I remember your telling me once about an issue of The New Yorker where there wasn’t a single woman contributor. Did you actually write a letter?

SHIELDS: I did. But all I got was a polite reply that my letter was being processed. Not even one of the poets — they always have two poems — was a woman. I don’t know who notices these things. I know a few of my friends do because we talk about it. But I have to think that they didn’t notice at The New Yorker office because they would put in a little explanation or something for this state of affairs. 

Shields, an American-born Canadian novelist and short story writer, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction as well as the Governor General's Award in Canada for her 1993 novel The Stone Diaries.

Final thoughts

It began easily enough. I noted the letters in the Letters to Editor were overwhelmingly from men. Then I started looking at how created the covers, cartoons, articles, photographs. Later everything. Counting one issue was no great shakes. Comparing the years was fun. Easy reward for minimal effort. And the numbers moved in the direction I hoped. That definitely helped.

I have a green thumb for small projects. Under my care, small projects grow into big projects. I did not have an endgame for this particular project or boundaries. I tallied more things and the years piled on. In February 2019, I noted the first contributor who was non-binary. This marked not only a change in my Gender Tally and The New Yorker but in society as well. From here out, I verified the pronouns of all contributors because pronouns matter. And I know too well how it feels to be misgendered and questioned in public bathrooms. 

Like Carol Shields, I also reached out to The New Yorker. Unlike Shields, I heard back one year. It was such a boon to know leadership of The New Yorker was aware of my Gender Tally. I also got to pose a question to then-cartoon editor Bob Mankoff at a screening of 2015’s documentary Very Semi-Serious: A Partially Thorough Portrait of New Yorker Cartoonists at the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine.[13] 

Perhaps it was unfair to pin hopes on Emma Allen taking the reins as the humor and cartoon editor. The Gender Tally should have taught me that. But you want what you want and hope is my default. Nevermind that editor David Remick's  leadership team is primarily women. Staffing alone does not guarantee a reduction in representation disparities. Constant vigilance is the best hope and chance.

I have no aspirations or belief that my efforts impacted The New Yorker in any way. I was merely curious and compelled to do it. And for all the time I invested, I now get to state unequivocally only this:

Gender representation in The New Yorker improved from 2013-2023. I counted on it all along.

With endless thanks

  • Judie and Gary Esch who fully funded this project with their gift subscriptions. 
  • Anita Crofts who hooked me on The New Yorker by annotating issues and for being hands down my best editor and reader. (I know you tried to get me to love the magazine, Jen Cohen. I wasn’t ready yet.)
  • Trevor Esch for enduring yet another project that steals my focus and our storage space.
  • Gina Glantz, Elan Morgan and everyone at GenderAvenger for their overall good work, tenacity, community building and platforms that spread my Gender Tally farther than I ever could. (GenderAvenger was acquired by The Female Quotient, and is now housed at All In Together.)
  • Maria Burton Nelson for suggesting I flip the order and list women before men when reporting the tallies.
  • Michael Maslin for cartoons that crack me up and his Inkspill Blog’s tireless devotion to New Yorker cartoonist news, history and events.
  • Anyone who has ever read, asked about or shared my Gender Tally.
  • Everyone who has cheered me on. 
  • All contributors and employees of The New Yorker. Past, present and future.
  • And, last for emphasis only, my parents Becky and Jeff Carpenter who raised me in a world of ideas and a cocoon of love and laughter. 

Questions, kudos or want to chat?

Email me at




[1] This section contains work by studios, collaborations between different genders, or my inability to confirm gender. It is rare that I surrender the search without identifying gender, but it has happened.


[3] Yearly summaries are available at as well as links to my blog posts summarizing findings.



[6] Ana Juan covered the January 19, 2015 issue.






[12] Random Illuminations: Conversations with Carol Shields, Eleanor Wachtel, Goose Lane Editions, 2007, pp.158-159 



Infinite hugs and a high five if you see this last line. xoxo

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