Lee and Low Books, a minority-owned multicultural children’s book publisher, is not unfamiliar with diversity — more specifically, a lack of diversity — in the publishing industry. In fact, according to research by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, diverse published books continue to make up an average of only 10 percent. But why?

The answer to that question isn’t black and white (no pun intended); however, it isn’t a far leap to theorize that a lack of diversity begins at the top. Lee and Low Books set out to collect data on publishing staff to shed some light on the issue.

At the start of 2015, Lee and Low put together the Diversity Baseline Survey (DBS) that asked about race, gender, sexuality, and disability. It was administered between April 9 and December 11, 2015, and was sent to 1,524 reviewer employees among eight reviewer journals, and 11,713 publishing employees among 34 publishers. The response rate was 25.8 percent — slightly higher than average. The results were not all together surprising given the low percentage of diversity in published works.

Some quick facts on the majorities:

Overall Industry
79% identified as White/Caucasian
78% identified as women/cis-women
88% identified as straight/heterosexual
92% identified as nondisabled

Executive Level
86% identified as White/Caucasian
59% identified as women/cis-women
89% identified as straight/heterosexual
96% identified as nondisabled

Editorial
82% identified as White/Caucasian
84% identified as women/cis-women
86% identified as straight/heterosexual
92% identified as nondisabled

Sales
83% identified as White/Caucasian
77% identified as women/cis-women
90% identified as straight/heterosexual
94% identified as nondisabled

Marketing & Publicity
77% identified as White/Caucasian
84% identified as women/cis-women
87% identified as straight/heterosexual
94% identified as nondisabled

Book Reviewers
89% identified as White/Caucasian
87% identified as women/cis-women
91% identified as straight/heterosexual
88% identified as nondisabled

Suffice it to say there is a lack of diversity in publishing staff that closely matches the lack of diversity in published books. White, straight cis-women who are nondisabled are running the publishing world, and there is a clear need for change and new perspectives. Until a more diverse workforce enters the industry, that change will be an uphill battle.

Read the full article and view the complete survey results.

By Renee Simpson

Photo credit: http://blog.leeandlow.com/2016/01/26/where-is-the-diversity-in-publishing-the-2015-diversity-baseline-survey-results/

Advertisements