The publishing industry has a long-standing problem of low diversity and limited representation in leadership positions. Women have long been relegated to lower-paying jobs in publishing, and scholars report that leadership positions are also predominantly held by white individuals, especially white men. This lack of diversity and equity in the industry is due to systemic issues that need to be addressed at the institutional level. In a blog post at the Science Editors, Morgan S Sorenson of the American Academy of Neurology: Minneapolis explained how research shows that there are fewer opportunities for training and career advancement for people of color, women, and those from other underrepresented groups.
Diversity training programs aimed at addressing the issue of inequity often focus on individual change and are not effective in making significant and lasting changes in diversity and representation. However, these programs are more effective when paired with diversity initiatives from leadership, especially in the form of mentorship and sponsorship programs. Mentoring is a critical tool for networking and career growth, but women are often over-mentored and under-sponsored. Sponsoring diverse candidates is necessary for removing barriers to career growth and leading to a change in the demographic of leadership positions.
Indirect discrimination often happens when policies apply to everyone but unfairly disadvantage a particular group or individual with a protected characteristic. Institutional biases can also contribute to indirect discrimination. To address these issues, organizations need to provide equal access to development opportunities and promotions. The hiring and promotion processes should be blinded to ensure that only relevant information is considered.
While there has been a focus on diversity in the areas of gender, race, and ethnicity, there are other categories to consider, including disability, age, sexual orientation, religion, parent/caregiver status, veteran status, educational experience, and socioeconomic background. A person can feel disadvantaged for many reasons, even if the reasons are not always visible. Companies need to prioritize diversity and inclusion by expanding the categories of diversity outreach programs.
In conclusion, there is a need for systemic change to address the lack of diversity in publishing, particularly in leadership positions. Organizations should implement initiatives to promote diversity, such as mentorship and sponsorship programs, and promote equal access to development opportunities and promotions. While diversity training programs are useful, they should be paired with diversity initiatives from leadership to make lasting changes. Companies should prioritize diversity and inclusion by expanding the categories of diversity outreach programs and considering indirect discrimination and institutional biases. A more diverse workforce with equal representation in leadership positions has been shown to provide more experience and viewpoints, leading to innovation.