Publishing industry is overwhelmingly white and female, US study finds

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Survey of workforce at 34 book publishers and eight review journals in US reveals 79% of staff are white and 78% female – with UK numbers still unmonitored: The Guardian

A survey of American publishing has found that it is blindingly white and female, with 79% of staff white and 78% women.

Multicultural children’s publisher Lee & Low Books surveyed staff at 34 American publishers, including Penguin Random House and Hachette , as well as eight review journals, to establish a baseline to measure diversity among publishing staff. They found that 79% were white. Of the remainder, Asians/Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders made up 7.2% of staff, Hispanics/Latinos/Mexicans 5.5%, and black/African Americans 3.5%.

“Does the lack of diverse books closely correlate to the lack of diverse staff? The percentages, while not exact, are proportional to how the majority of books look nowadays – predominately white. Cultural fit would seem to be relevant here,” writes publisher Jason Low. “Or at least in publishing’s case, what is at work is the tendency – conscious or unconscious – for executives, editors, marketers, sales people and reviewers to work with, develop, and recommend books by and about people who are like them.”

When it came to gender, Lee & Low found that 78% of publishing staff overall were female. At executive or board level, however, 40% of respondents identified as men.

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Author: Zafar Anjum

I am a writer based in Singapore.

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