Academic Publisher Pushes for Gender Equity

Emerald aims to promote change by sparking discussion around the issue.
Illustration of woman holding stack of books over her head

Emerald Publishing based in Bingley, United Kingdom, has announced its intention to put the spotlight on the continuing problem of gender inequity in academia. To coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8, the academic publishing house has launched a campaign to both celebrate the accomplishments of women academics and raise awareness of obstacles they face as they try to advance in their careers.

Even though 75 percent of all academic roles are filled by women, most of these positions are entry-level. In spite of the large proportion of women in the industry as a whole, the number of men in senior academic positions is nearly double that of women, according to data the company shared. In addition, women academics report earning less than their male counterparts and being less likely to participate in mentorship or training programs.

Emerald’s “Balance for Better” campaign highlights such statistics, as well as women’s firsthand stories. Among those sharing their experiences are Katy Shaw, professor of contemporary writings at Northumbria University; Alison McAnena, research impact officer for social sciences at the University of Reading; and Helen Beddow, gender and diversity publisher at Emerald Publishing. They will describe the challenges they have faced during their academic careers—from lacking support from senior staff to not having the flexibility to achieve proper work-life balance—in videos posted on the campaign’s website.

Through this initiative, the company is “committed to sparking debate and creating real change,” says Vicky Williams, who became Emerald’s first female CEO in early 2018. “It doesn’t happen overnight or by acting alone. It needs to real, authentic. and backed up by actions, and we hope this campaign … is a step in the right direction for everyone working in academia. Together with our colleagues, partners, and peers, we are calling to ‘better the balance.’”

All campaign content is posted at