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Diversity in Canadian Book Publishing: Findings from the 2018 Baseline Survey – Tech Forum 2019


– [Noah] So, it's my pleasure to introduce Kate Edwards Kate Edwards is the Executive Director of the Association of Canadian Publishers, the national voice of Canada's independent English-language book publishers

Kate leads ACP's government relations and advocacy program and oversees the association's communications, professional development, and marketing initiatives An active participant in industry initiatives, Kate sits on the boards of eBOUND Canada, Work in Culture, and Canada FBM2020, the organisation that will present Canada as Guest of Honour at the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair Please join me in welcoming Kate Edwards – [Kate] Thank you to BookNet for the invitation to share ACP's 2018 Canadian Book Publishing Diversity Baseline Survey, which is the longest name for a report ever And I'm really pleased to say that it was publicly released today

It's available on our website for download So, this presentation will be short and sweet A few of the key highlights, but I encourage everyone to visit our website if you're interested in learning more Like many ACP projects, the study was the collective effort And before I start, I do want to acknowledge the work of Amanda Crocker, Annie Gibson, Tonya Martin, and Wendy Whitebear, who comprise the subcommittee that developed the survey and were with the project from start to finish

I'm here today on behalf of them and the rest of ACP, but the project wouldn't have happened without them or without the hard work of my colleagues at ACP, Jazz Cook, Madeline McCaffrey, and Emily Kellogg, who all played a role in bringing this together So, as background, this survey was an initiative of ACP's Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, which was struck at our 2017 annual general meeting It was established at the direction of ACP's membership, which is, as Noah said, independent book publishers from right across the country We have about 115 members in all regions of the country And the intention of the group was to find solutions to the underrepresentation of indigenous people and racialised Canadians working in our industry

The first activity that the group decided to take on was this survey with the goal of producing a snapshot of the industry's current demographic makeup The survey ran last summer and was open to anyone who self-identified as working in Canadian publishing Rather than cover the entire supply chain, the subcommittee decided to focus on people who work for and with publishers to make books in Canada So, full-time, part-time, freelancers, contract staff, interns, volunteers If you work with a publisher, you were invited to respond

We distributed the survey to our membership and also other publishing associations, also through Quill & Quire, and through social media The survey was structured to be anonymous to protect the privacy of respondents So, that is something to keep in mind We had a base survey and then an extra set of questions for heads of firm and asked them about their companies That data and information about that group's demographics is also pulled out separately in the report

All the questions were optional And some did allow for multiple responses, which I point out because you'll see that some of the responses have responses that add up to more than 100% So, we are aware of that In total, we had 372 responses, which we were quite pleased with for this first effort And that included 66 from heads of firm

The majority of respondents came from companies with fewer than 15 employees So, much of what I'm presenting reflects the reality for small companies And we did have good representation from right across the country The responses more or less mirror the activity of English-language publishers across the country The working group and, really, the membership, the premise on which the working group was established, was that indigenous people and racialised Canadians are underrepresented in the industry

And the survey responses validate this assumption, which you'll see in the next couple of slides, including the one that's up now This slide measures respondents' answers to the question of what race they identify as And we had 19 different possible responses to this question, which are along the horizontal axis The overwhelming response we received was White, which was how 82% of respondents identified Other categories were quite low, as you can see in comparison

The second most common choice or response was East Asian at 5% and other at 4% And this is the same question but a break out of heads of firms only The number of respondents identifying as White was similar, give or take, to the broader pool, it was 78% for this group In comparing the two graphs, my main takeaway, beyond the obvious, that White respondents are overrepresented in the pool But the level of diversity that we see in the broader, all-respondent group, while very modest, is greater than among heads of firm

Moving on to gender identity, 74% of respondents identified as female and 18% as male Cisgender was selected by 50% of respondents And remember, multiple responses were possible Non-binary was selected by 3%, and the remaining gender identities which were options were selected by 1% of respondents or less In the same category, when we break out heads of firm, the number of female respondents remains quite high at 62%

Though the number of responses from those who identify as male increases to 30% This trend is consistent with other industry research that we've done and others have done, which demonstrates strong female participation at all levels of the industry with slightly lower numbers at the heads of firm level And I will not compare it to other cultural industries, the numbers of women in management positions, it is quite high in comparison to, say, music or film This table reflects responses on the questions about sexual orientation Heterosexual was the dominant response to this question among all respondents

The numbers were quite similar between all respondents and with heads of firms, just over 70% for both And we also asked respondents if they have a disability Numbers were very close, almost identical for both heads of firms and the full respondent pool, 17% said yes and about 80% said no So, this chart is the full respondent group and then this one is heads of firm We did ask companies if, or the heads of firm only, If they have an accessibility policy in place

And only 34% responded yes, which, as many people know, there is legislation that requires these policies, and this goes back to the morning session of the spectrum of efforts around diversity and inclusion, from compliance all the way to inclusion And for me, this slide is a sign that more work needs to be done just on the… I keep moving back and forth Compliance was on this side On the compliance front, in terms of education and other supports for companies to put those policies in place So, I've gone through that data really quickly, and there's a lot more in the report

But I think the pieces that were most interesting for me and what I'd like to use the remaining time to summarise is some of the open-ended responses that we gathered We asked all respondents to describe initiatives that are either in place now at their firms or initiatives that could be introduced to support greater diversity and inclusion in their workplaces The report breaks these down in greater detail, but in the interest of time, I've summarised them together in groups There's quite a bit of repetition among the examples that came up But again, I did really like the visual presented this morning of the spectrum from compliance to diversity to inclusion

And that comes up across when we look at the whole set of responses that came in Some respondents are only beginning to consider this question and are more on the compliance side And then others have been actively pursuing initiatives, which came through in their responses So, the first bucket of responses were around policy and compliance These are the basics, and they frequently came up as initiatives that are already in place

Some of those policies, it was noted, they were…some were developed independently by companies and others were the results of a relationship with another institution, like university presses, for example, might follow the policies of their parent institution The next theme that came up was around recruitment and hiring practice There were many notes about creating well-paid internship opportunities for diverse candidates, active recruitment, not just posting jobs in the regular places, but looking further afield, and also the suggestion to reevaluate job descriptions to attract a diversity of candidates The issue of seniority came up as well Internships often are the first place that this discussion goes

But within the results, there was acknowledgement that hiring for those middle and senior management positions must also be considered Mentorship and professional development was another bucket of initiatives Cooperative learning within publishing houses and also within industry associations to develop best practice And some of that work went on today, and I know it will continue through BookNet, ACP, and other organisations Outreach to and partnership with community organisations, educational institutions, and publishing schools were other frequent responses that came to us, along with the suggestion to increase outreach to kids of all ages and from different communities to educate them about opportunities and careers in publishing

As I mentioned at the beginning, the survey was about the workforce and its demographics We didn't ask specifically about editorial mandates or diversity of authors or books being published, but those activities did come up in the open-ended responses, and they're important to highlight as well So, things like commitment to diversity and inclusion being reflected in the company mandate, calls for manuscripts from diverse communities, establishment of diverse editorial or publishing boards, engagement with sensitivity readers, and the use of accessible facilities for readings, launches, and other events Though the report largely talks about employees and the workforce, I raise these other points because they did come up often, especially among smaller companies who might not have a large staff but feel it's important for them to take a holistic approach to this issue and have it move through everything the company does, the authors and freelancers they work with, how they make editorial decisions And this came up a lot in the working groups' discussions as well

We did ask heads of firms who didn't have plans to implement new initiatives around inclusion, whether there are resources that would encourage them to do so And the responses here are variations on the same themes Collaborative development of best practices, dedicated funding supports, support for recruitment, training, and professional development, especially specific to small organisations, reexamining job requirements, and again, ensuring office facilities are accessible With respect to our working groups' next steps, now that the report is released, the working group hopes it will inspire discussion and action around this topic The group continues to meet and is considering a variety of activities, both to support companies at the firm level, but also to explore things that ACP could do as a collective, either within our association or with others

And the subcommittee who developed the survey did intend it to be a baseline Their recommendation back to the association is that it'd be repeated in three to five years' time So, we hope we'll be able to revisit the topic and document how the industry continues to change

Source: Youtube

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