With about two weeks to go before questionnaires are due, Jason Low, publisher of Lee & Low Books, reports that roughly 30 organizations have agreed to take part in the Diversity Baseline survey. The goal of the survey, which Lee & Low created and is overseeing, is to gather statistics about the staff makeup of both publishers and review journals based on gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and disability.
Low hopes by learning the composition of publishers’ staffs the industry will be in a better position to introduce more diversity into publishing. Statistics indicate that only about 10% of children’s books published are by or about people of color. Low believes that if the staffs at publishers and review journals were more diverse, more books about people of color would be published.
Last year, a PW survey of publishers found that 89% of employees at publishing houses identified themselves as white.
In a petition to encourage publishers to take part in the survey, Low wrote that, “the goal of getting publishers to participate in the Diversity Baseline survey is not to point fingers or assign blame (especially since most media industries face similar problems) but to bring clarity to the problem so we can understand it better, attempt to correct it, and measure whether or not we are improving. Ultimately, an increase in diverse books is directly tied to an increase in diverse publishing staff.”
Among the publishers that have agreed to take part in the survey are Macmillan, Abrams, Lerner, Bloomsbury, and Chronicle as well as PW.
More information about the survey is available here.