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#WeNeedDiverse­Books but also #WeNeedMORE­WomenPubExecs
Categories: Business, Leadership

I question survey results showing 59% women executives in publishing

[As always, this is my personal opinion.]

I applaud the recent survey by Lee & Low for shining the light on the need for diversity in publishing, and the need for diverse books! And I believe that publishing is a women-friendly industry, and am proud to be a part of it. However, I question the survey’s conclusion that there are 59% women “board members and executive positions.” I do not see that.

I read Porter Anderson’s article in Publishing Perspectives, and felt I had to speak out. I agree that we should encourage boys to read more, just as we should encourage all children and adults to read. But I say there must be a flaw in the study, because I don’t see that many women in the executive ranks.

We can quickly see from public information that the executive leadership teams of the big 5 trade publishers show a different story:

  • Penguin Random House: 8 men, 8 women. Count includes CEO = male. 50% women.
  • Macmillan: Cannot find breakdown of leadership team in US on their website.
  • HarperCollins7 men, 4 women. Count includes President/CEO = male. 36% women.
  • Hachette Book Group7 men, 7 women. Count includes CEO = male. 50% women.
  • Simon & Schuster9 men, 8 women. Count includes CEO = female. 47% women.

I applaud those companies for having so many women on their executive teams! However, the total ratio of these top 4 biggest publishers shows women executives at 47% – a far cry from 59%. And in this sample of CEOs, only 25% are women. I suspect if we continued down the list of top publishers, we will see a much lower percentage of women on the leadership teams, especially at the CEO level.

I’m joining Lee & Low and many others calling on all publishers to have parity at the highest ranks for diversity and feel #WeNeedMOREWomenPubExecs as well.


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