Equality for women in the workplace, and in society at large, has been an issue for a long time now. Movements have come and gone, bringing change to our world. One of publishing’s shortcomings is the imbalance of men and women in high leadership positions, and further, a lack of diversity.
One volunteer group has been tackling the issue of awareness head-on. VIDA is “a research-driven organization” that strives to “increase critical attention to contemporary women’s writing as well as further transparency around gender equality issues in contemporary literary culture” (Source). Every year, this group collects data from “Tier 1” journals, publications, and other top literary presses in order to represent, in hard numbers, the disparities among writers and other participants of the literary world.
The VIDA Count reveals major imbalances at premiere publications both in the US and abroad. For example: The New York Review of Books covered 306 titles by men in 2010 and only 59 by women; The New York Times Book Review covered 524 books by men compared to 283 books written by women (VIDA Count 2010). ~About VIDA
The VIDA count has been an annual event since 2010; a little earlier in the week the 2014 results were published. For the first time, the VIDA conducted a Women of Color count, and for the second year a Larger Literary Landscape count. Read the full report here. The efforts that VIDA is making to illuminate the disparities in the literary world is bringing awareness to a wide population, and hopefully change to balance the inequalities.
Elizabeth Geiser died on Monday, October 8, 2012. She served as Senior Vice President of Business Development at Gale Research for many years and established the Denver Publishing Institute. Elizabeth was a dedicated executive who served as a role model for women in the industry. As an educator, she influenced hundreds of young students and taught them the basics of publishing.
I first met Elizabeth when Pace University was negotiating for a publishing library that was housed at CUNY at 42 Street. Elizabeth was searching for a home for the library and thought Pace might be a good fit. However, it was many years later that I got to know her and how exceptional she was. What impressed me most was her total dedication to her publishing students and the Denver Institute publishing alumni. She never missed an opportunity to assist them and was always there when they needed advice concerning the business. In 1990, I received an urgent call from Elizabeth. Xiao Chuan Lian, a graduate of her program, applied to the Pace University MS in Publishing Program. He was an outstanding student from Wuhan University who received his degree in library science and was one of the founders of the Wuhan University publishing program. Elizabeth strongly urged me to consider his application as well as consider a merit scholarship for him. Mr. Lian completed the MS in Publishing with honors and succeeded in the field of publishing and publishing education.
My friendship with Elizabeth grew through the years. She served on the Pace University publishing advisory board and assisted us greatly in developing our program. Many Denver Publishing Institute alumni entered our masters’ degree program.
Most important to me and my wife Paula was our close friendship with her. Elizabeth was intelligent, ethical, loyal, hard working and entrepreneurial. It was an honor to have her as a friend. She has made a deep and permanent impression on our lives and so many lives. Thank you Elizabeth.
Sherman Raskin, Professor and Director of the Pace University MS in Publishing Program