The second international event in the PublisHer series featured performance, discussion, and networking at the International Publishers Association’s ‘Africa Rising’ seminar in Nairobi.
‘To Get More Women Into Leadership’

As busy as the central agenda was at at the International Publishers Association‘s (IPA) “Africa Rising” seminar in Nairobi, there was time for a dinner program in the newly created PublisHer series of events meant to celebrate women in publishing and spearheaded by the Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, IPA’s vice-president.

Publishing Perspectives readers will recall that the initial gathering in this series of events was in March during the London Book Fair. At the time, Bodour—who co-hosted that event with the Association of American Publishers’ CEO and president Maria A. Pallante—said, “The global publishing industry boasts a lot of brilliant, inspiring, and courageous women, but not enough of them are in the leadership level, a situation many stakeholders are working hard to redress.”
And the intent is for women in publishing to further develop an international network dedicated to exploring the successes and challenges women encounter in publishing today. On becoming the IPA’s vice-president, Bodour told Publishing Perspectives, “The publishing industry has a diversity problem, and it’s more important than ever that we take action. In many countries, our sector is not welcoming to outsiders, whether they’re female or from other disadvantaged groups.”
In the course of the event at Nairobi, the gathering featured a panel of speakers on overcoming publishing’s diversity problem in women’s leadership. The panel featured:

  • Bibi Bakare-Yusef, founder of Nigeria’s Cassava Republic Press
  • Ama Dadson, founder of Ghana’s AkooBooks Audio
  • Thabiso Mahlape, founder of the South African imprint BlackBird Books

The evening also featured the Nairobi-based journalist and storyteller Maïmouna Jallow, who performed her stage adaptation of Lola Shoneyin’s novel The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives (Serpent’s Tail, 2010). And attendees included the Arab League’s Maha Bakheet; the Puku Foundation’s Elinor Sisulu; Anna Bertmar Khan, senior technical advisor with Dubai Cares; Emma House, deputy CEO with the UK’s Publishers Association; and Frankfurter Buchmesse’s vice-president for business development, Claudia Kaiser.

The PublisHer program now has a Twitter handle: @PublisHerEvents and we’ve had a chance to be in touch with Bakare-Yusef, Mahlape, and Jallow, finding a range of insights as a result. As Jallow puts it, “I think women are the ones who are going to transform the publishing industry in Africa.”

Source: Publishing Perspectives