Traditional Publishing is Overwhelming White & Female

To some people this fact might not seem that surprising, but I literally said, “What the f***?” The first time that I read the statistic that 78% of people employed in the publishing industry are woman and 79% are white. (Source comes from a Guardian article by Alison Flood)

The second part I understand, due to many macro level institions that make it hard for minorites to work in the publishing industry. (Located in expensive cities, doesn’t pay well, expects unpaid/minimum wage work as a way to get a foot in the door) While I have a large problem with this as well, it wasn’t something I had heard of before. I had no clue that only 22% of the people in publishing are men.

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The reason why this surprised me is because in almost any major publisher’s guidelines it will say something like, “We actively try to display works from underrepresented demographics such as women, minorities, LGBTQ, etc…” If woman make up over 78% of the publishing industry how can they be underrepresented?

Though obviously it isn’t that big of a deal, but I feel that it isn’t right to treat the most dominant group as a victim. I believe that it is a great thing to try to promote differing cultural, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds in regards to publishing. How would the publishing world differ if instead of having upper-middle class, white woman deciding what gets published it was split between people that grew up in poverty, have faced racial discrimination, or decided to serve in the military. There are many perspectives on the human experience that are ignored due to such a high preference of a single view-point.

I do not think it would be right to just burn the publishing industry to the ground, though I do think the least that could be done is to acknowledge the fact the in the publishing industry woman are not under-represented.

 

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