Rio de Janeiro: Bodour Al Qasimi — who founded PublisHer to help women beat gender-based career barriers in publishing — has urged Brazil’s bookwomen to unite, find strength in numbers, and call out workplace discrimination.

The Emirati publishing entrepreneur and philanthropist was speaking at Rio de Janeiro’s Bienal do Livro book fair, opening PublisHer’s second Brazilian event after a national chapter launch gathering in São Paulo last year.

In conversation with PublishNews journalist Talita Facchini, she said: “Don’t tolerate any form of discrimination or encourage it by being silent. Speak up, stand up and share your voice. It might be challenging, but that’s the process. No real change happens without sacrifice.”

Group dynamic

She added: “There’s power in the group dynamic, so work together, support one another, and create strong, supportive networks.”

PublisHer planted its flag in Brazil in July with a networking event in São Paulo that signalled Bodour Al Qasimi’s intent to expand to more Latin American markets.

Describing why she started PublisHer in 2019, Bodour Al Qasimi said she refused to accept that the world’s publishing industry—whose workforce is predominantly female—was disproportionately run by men.

“I was amazed by the similarities in stories we heard from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, North America, which confirmed that we were facing a global culture of unfairness.”

The Bienal do Livro program continued with a debate moderated by Talita Facchini with seven leading female publishers.

Bodour Al Qasimi and colleagues later toured the biennial book fair with Martha Ribas, Bienal Curator and Partner of MapaLab.

She also hosted a PublisHer networking dinner in Rio De Janeiro for female Brazilian publishers to connect, exchange ideas and talk openly about collaborations to empower women.