Gender and Ethnicity in Textbooks: systematic underrepresentation of female and minority characters in Dutch textbooks.
Diversity & Inclusion in the publishing industry is not only relevant for the workforce in our industry (see my previous blog on key surveys measuring exactly that), but also for what we publish. Important questions that arise are the representation of women and minorities in books. Prof. Judi Mesman of Leiden University in the Netherlands studied this very topic and I asked her a series of questions which resulted in the following blog.
The conclusions are relevant for publishers: ‘do you want to aim for tradition, reflection, or emancipation’? Do we see ourselves reflecting today’s situation of women and minorities, or do we see ourselves as catalysts of change, as inspiration for a society that is more diverse and more inclusive, and that will install a sense of belonging for all, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, sexuality and the other lenses of Diversity & Inclusion?
This also links to a broader discussion taking place at the Educational Publishers Forum addressing the value of (educational) publishing. Educational publishers stand for local solutions, i.e. have a local industry that is publishing text books that represent local society - in terms of gender, but also other lenses of D&I (here is a great example from Canada).
Over to Prof. Mesman: