Watch: Sheikha Bodour delivers inspiring speech on diversity, gender equality in publishing

The IPA president addressed the 7th Estoril Conference, a two-day event focused on inspiring global citizens to make positive and sustainable change


A Staff Reporter

Published: Tue 6 Sep 2022, 11:11 AM

Last updated: Tue 6 Sep 2022, 11:14 AM

Diversity and gender equality have long been spoken of within the publishing sector — but Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi stressed that these are subjects that still require vigilance and constant attention.

In an empowering speech she delivered at the 7th edition of the Estoril Conference, recently held in Lisbon, the president of the International Publishers Association (IPA) cited her own experience as an Arab, Muslim woman to underscore the vital role that representation plays in creating a mirror for humanity.

Held over two days, the Estoril Conference is a platform to promote an open and intergenerational dialogue with the aim of developing a more inclusive and sustainable future.

In order to create effective change, the conference brings together global citizens inspiring the co-creation of effective and solution-driven coalitions.

In her address to delegates, Bodour used case studies to explain the importance of diversity representation.

Here's a video of her speech:

The IPA President cited the case of acclaimed American poet Yi-Fen Chou whose inclusion in the 2015 American Poetry Anthology caused an uproar when it was discovered that she was in fact a Caucasian male poet by the name of Michael Hudson – whose submission was repeatedly rejected until he adopted a nom de plume from a different culture, and gender than his own.

Bodour went on to explain that the debate as to whether the poem was accepted on merit, or whether prejudice, gender and race played a part in its publication is a prime example of the reflection and discourse that the publishing community must undertake in order to enact positive change within the industry – change which will prevent the institutional marginalization of authors and publishers from all backgrounds.

She added that as a result of these challenging conversations, readers will have a greater opportunity to access content which best reflects the world around them.

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