Let's see what the interwebs have to say. The top web result for this query, entitled "In Which These are the 100 Greatest Writers of All Time," has 14 female and 86 male writers on its top ten list, going all the way back to one of the first writers ever known -- a guy who may not even have been real -- Homer. Moving over to Wikipedia, an encyclopedic list of "The 100 Best Books of All Time" proposed by some survey of 100 writers conducted by the Norwegian Book Club, has 10 out of 100 books by 9 female authors (two books by Virginia Woolf are on the list).
In this survey, women require their own list -- otherwise they would barely appear at all. Fifteen of the list of 101 top writers "according to critics" are women. This online public voting website has 15 out of 100 slots devoted to women, but a few different names from other lists, such as J.K. Rowling and Sylvia Plath, do appear.
Jane Austen is the only female to appear on the first slide of the Google image scroll for a search for "Greatest Authors of All Time" and "Top Authors of All Time." The scroll does change depending on minor wording changes. Sometimes she's in the middle; other times, she's at the end. Slightly better is womens' placement on Wikipedia's list of 88 bestselling authors: a clean 20% or 22 out of 88 are female, counting Jan Berenstain, half of the Berenstain Bear author team.
This survey of 125 current authors and their "favorite books" turned up an average of two out of ten female authors on each of the "top 10" lists.
Eleven (11) of the top fifty (50) "Greatest Books of All Time" from GreatestBooks.org are written by women, with the usual Jane Austen/Virginia Woolf duplicates, but a welcome surprise in Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind, possibly the American novel with the greatest scope. Nineteen of 50 books published in the 2000s on the "GreatestBooks.org" website are identified as written by women; the list includes multiple titles from several female authors (Zadie Smith, J.K. Rowling). According to the site's author, "This list is generated from 43 "best of" book lists from a variety of great sources. An algorithm is used to create a master list based on how many lists a particular book appears on. Some lists count more than others." This explanation gives some illumination as to how books few have read appear by huge bestsellers; however, there's no algorithm to excuse a truly horribly-written, conceived, nasty book like Philip Roth's The Human Stain appearing on such a list. Next to The Lovely Bones.
I like to just look in this title at random to pick out choice bits.
There's no accounting for this kind of talent.
Coleman had first seen the woman mopping the post office floor when he went around late one day, a few minutes before closing time, to get his mail -- a thin, tall, angular woman with graying blond hair yanked back into a ponytail and the kind of severely sculpted features customarily associated with the church-ruled, hardworking goodwives who suffered through New England's harsh beginnings, stern colonial women locked up within the reigning morality and obedient to it. Her name was Faunia Farley, and whatever miseries she endured she kept concealed behind one of those inexpressive bone faces that hide nothing and bespeak an immense loneliness. Faunia lived in a room at a local dairy farm where she helped with the milking in order to pay her rent. She'd had two years of high school education.
That's the second paragraph of the book. It's told third-hand. In other words, it's not the narrator Zuckerman who's getting it on with Faunia Farley. It's "Coleman Silk," the black literature professor who's passed all his life as white.
Maybe Roth would like to take on a girl who's had a little more than two years of high school education. And who's actually worked for a writing living.