By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Two Days of Programming at the New StandSince being formed by Bodour Al Qasimi in March 2019 during London Book Fair, the PublisHer network of women in international book publishing has been growing in influence—often through events held off-site during book fairs, trade shows, and conferences. From Nairobi to São Paulo, and from Guadalajara to Frankfurt, the program has gained traction, often through dinner meetings for issue presentation and interaction among peers.
Next week at Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the format for PublisHer changes, as the organization arrives at a major show with a stand of its own, in Hall 29, B36 to C45, marked on ground-plan maps as presentation area 3A.
As the organization describes it on its site, PublisHer is “a call to action by female publishing leaders to address their industry’s entrenched gender imbalances and drive an international agenda for change. PublisHer is an empowered community seeking creative, viable solutions to the many gender-based inequities that have long characterized world publishing and the other creative industries.”
The organization’s advisor board features many familiar faces in international publishing, from the Sharjah-base Al Qasimi and India’s Arpita Das to England’s Emma House and Bologna director Elena Pasoli.
The timing is good for the new stand’s arrival, of course, with International Women’s Day falling on March 8, the third day of the fair.
The stand will be offering coffee and networking each day at 2 p.m. during the fair. And organizers have programmed speakers and issues for both March 7 and March 8 at Bologna, including a major sequence of events on the 7th, running from 10 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
Here’s a look at that programming with some of the commentary offered by organizers about it.
March 7 at the Bologna PublisHer Stand
- Bodour Al Qasimi, PublisHer founder and founding CEO of the United Arab Emirates’ Kalimat Group
- Elena Pasoli, director of Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and PulisHer advisory board member
10:10 to 11:10 a.m.
The Role of Women in Challenging the Status Quo in Children’s Books
From the program’s descriptive text: “Starting in this century, several studies from several parts of the world have estimated that women make up anywhere from 60 to 80 percent of the publishing industry workforce. But unanswered questions still remain about how well women are represented women in children’s book publishing internationally.
“Is the female children’s publishing workforce inclusive of all types of diversity including cultural, racial, religious, age, etc.? With female publishers, writers, and creative workers increasingly asserting their voices in world publishing at the highest levels, it’s difficult to square how the status quo of gender-role stereotypes and male over-representation in children’s books continues to persist.
“This panel will attempt to shed light on the role of women in children’s book publishing at a time of increasing emphasis on diversity and inclusion in international publishing and on greater accessibility for readers to books. The panelists will draw on their experiences to suggest how authors, publishers, and other publishing ecosystem stakeholders can cooperate in challenging gender disparity in children’s publishing while also promoting diverse representation, the intersectionality of identity, and critical reflection about stereotypes.”
- Moderator: Emma House, PublisHer advisory board member and managing consultant with the Oreham Group
- Beatrice Masini, editorial director with the Giunti Group’s Bompiani
- Mariagrazia Mazzitelli, editorial director with GEMs’ Magazzini Salani
- Monica Martinelli, editorial director with Settenove Edizioni
11:10 a.m. to 12:10 p.m.
Women Helping Women in Reaching the Heights of Global Publishing Governance Institutions
This panel takes as its starting point the fact that Al Qasimi and now Karine Pansa of Brazil are the second and third female presidents of the International Publishers Association (IPA) since its 1896 founding. Until Al Qasimi’s presidency, Argentina’s Ana María Cabanellas had been the only woman president of the organization. It’s expected that Gvantsa Jobava of the Republic of Georgia, now IPA’s vice-president, will become the fourth woman president, succeeding Pansa.
PublisHer’s organizers write, “This is a testament to what can be achieved when women support other women. The continuity of this diverse leadership of the institution that represents the voices of publishing ensures that diversity and inclusion will remain at the top of the industry agenda. Drawing on the experiences of women who have reached senior leadership roles in international publishing industry governance institutions, this panel will discuss how PublisHer can expand diversity and inclusion in such institutions and how women in world publishing can help other women in reaching leadership roles at international publishing bodies.”
- Moderator: Nopi Chatzigeorgiou, Thessaloniki Book Fair coordinator with the Hellenic Foundation for Culture
- Tuula Père, PhD in law, author and publisher of Wickwick
- Lina Chebaro, rights director and chief editor with Arab Scientific Publishers
- Amélia Jannarelli, publisher of Ameli
12:10 to 1:10 p.m.
The Role of Mentorship in Developing Emerging Publishing Markets
PublisHer introduced a mentorship–and reverse mentorship–program in 2020.
“While the focus of these initial programs was mutually beneficial professional development,” organizers write, “there’s a broader potential for peer-based mentorship and institution-to-institution
partnerships to build institutional capacity and fast-track the development of emerging publishing markets.
“The United Nations recently indicated that more than half of the world’s population growth until 2050 will come from eight countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Tanzania. These emerging, fast-growing countries are publishing growth markets of tomorrow.
“This panel will focus on how female publishers can form peer-based mentorship and institution-to-institution partnerships to contribute to addressing developmental challenges including literacy, indigenous publishing, library development, and conflict reconciliation, in emerging publishing markets while also advancing professional and personal growth.”
- Moderator: Wafa Thabet, university lecturer, cultural advisor, and publishing consultant
- Mitia Osman, CEO and owner of Mayurpankhi Publishing House
- Fatima Abbas, international publishing consultant and literary translator
- Silvia Vassena, CEO of Silvia Vassena Milano Consulting and Scouting, and founder of Acoma Book
- Bodour Al Qasimi
March 8 at the Bologna PublisHer Stand
International Women’s Day PublisHer Breakfast
- Bodour Al Qasimi
9:05 to 9:50 a.m.
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals: Empowering the Next Generation of Girls and Youth Through Books
- Moderator: Lisa Lyons Johnston, president and publisher of Kids Can Press, Canada
- Perminder Mann, CEO of Bonnier Books UK
- Karine Pansa, president, International Publishers Association (IPA) and editorial director with Girassol Brasil
- Gvantsa Jobava, vice-president, International Publishers Association, and international relations manager with Intelekti Publishing
9:50 to 10:30 a.m.
Networking Breakfast with Kids Can Press
At Bologna, the PublisHer stand has an exhibition of 115 books celebrating women from publishers’ catalogues in many parts of the world. This is a project of Accademia Drosselmeier / Cooperativa Giannino Stoppani.
More from Publishing Perspectives on the PublisHer program is here, more on women in publishing is here, and more on Bologna Children’s Book Fair is here. More on International Women’s Day is here.
Publishing Perspectives is the International Publishers Association’s world media partner.
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Bologna’s 60th Edition Draws 28,894 Visitors
Hometown Hero: Bologna Illustrator Andrea Antinori Wins Big
International Women’s Day: PublisHer’s Bologna Stand
The Best Children’s Publishers Prizes of the Year at Bologna
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Elena Pasoli and Jacks Thomas on the 60th Bologna Book Fair Opening
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