Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2023: PublisHer puts women centre stage in programme during International Women’s Day


PublisHer—the movement started by Emirati entrepreneur Bodour Al Qasimi to level the
publishing playing field and remove career barriers obstructing women—has switched up a gear
by building its first ever stand at a major international book fair.
Bodour started PublisHer in 2019 by hosting networking events on the margins of book fairs,
and it has grown steadily in stature and influence despite two years of virtual-only activity during
the coronavirus pandemic.
This year the founder and CEO of Kalimat Group has vowed to level up her initiative, starting
with a large stand at Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF), made possible with the support of
fair director, Elena Pasoli, who sits on the PublisHer Advisory Board.
The PublisHer stand (Hall 29, B36-C45) has been designed as a forum for debates and
speeches (on 7 March), dealmaking, meetings, and an International Women’s Day networking
breakfast, which took place this morning in partnership with Canadian publisher, Kids Can
Stand visitors are also invited to answer a digital questionnaire. The data gathered will inform
future PublisHer initiatives, which may include updating the 2020 Diversity and Inclusion
Diagnostic Toolkit, developing mentorship programs, and setting up other industry events.
Opening the International Women’s Day breakfast, Bodour asserted that publishers have a duty
to proactively include women’s voices in their business practices and output.
‘Women (…) still face many obstacles, from gender bias and discrimination to a lack of
representation in leadership positions,’ she said. ‘That’s why as publishers we have a
responsibility to create platforms and opportunities to amplify women’s voices, to make them
heard and, most importantly, to make them understood,’ she said.

To join the PublisHer community of publishers, businesses, donors, and nonprofits, and to
support the work to bring gender equity to world publishing can visit