PublisHer founder urges women to unite, challenge workplace discrimination at Rio de Janeiro Bienal do Livro

PublisHer back in Brazil after opening a national chapter there last year.
PublisHer founder urges women to unite, challenge workplace discrimination at Rio de Janeiro Bienal do Livro
Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi during her discussion session with journalist Talita Facchini

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 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, 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.’

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 on 1 July 2022 with a networking event in São Paulo that signalled Al Qasimi’s intent to expand to more Latin American markets.

Describing why she started PublisHer in 2019, 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,’ she said.

The Bienal do Livro program continued with a debate moderated by Talita Facchini with seven leading female publishers: PublisHer Brazilian chapter head Flavia Bravin (Saber Educação / SNEL), Karine Pansa (Girassol Brasil Edições); Ana Lima (Rocco); Roberta Machado (Grupo Editorial Record); Camila Perlingeiro (Independent editor); Lizandra Magon (Editora Jandaíra); and Paula Carvalho (Tinta-da-China Brasil).

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

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

About PublisHer

Bodour Al Qasimi started PublisHer in 2019 to address the persistent gaps in female representation and leadership in global publishing. Today, PublisHer has become a vibrant, participative international platform that celebrates the voices and contributions of women who are making a positive difference in the book industry.

To join the PublisHer community of publishers, businesses, donors, and nonprofits, visit

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