The nominees for this year’s Hugo Awards have been announced – congrats to one and all. A few people have mentioned the dearth of female nominees in the fiction categories. This seems a reasonable observation, even though I’m always cautious about gender-based breakdowns of such things. It did make me think to take a look at one or two other things, and I was quite surprised to see the case with winners for Best Professional Artist Hugos. Since the first ‘professional artist’ award was presented in 1955, exactly one woman has won the award, and then as part of a team (Dianne Dillon). So, in fifty-one attempts at presenting the Best Professional Artist Hugo, across a fifty-two year period, only one. Very odd (see the list of artists here).
Edited to add:
A quick look down the lists of nominees also shows that only three women – Dillon, Rowena Morrill, and Val Lakey-Lindahn – have ever been nominated for the Best Professional Artist Hugo. I haven’t done an exhaustive survey, and I’d never advocate some kind of quota approach to these things, but that seems rather extraordinary. If they’ve averaged four nominees in 52 sets of nominations, that’s three women in over 200 nominations. The only question, I guess, is whether there is an obvious candidate, or candidates, who’ve done science fiction artwork, who have been overlooked. If so, it would be a rather sad state of affairs.