I do think there is an obligation there, but it's a social obligation, rather than an ethical one. It's on the order of saying "please" and "thank you". It is appropriate social behavior, and (I believe) a reasonable expectation.Gorrath said:Surely they can but do you believe they should be obliged to do so? You seem to suggest they are or should be under an obligation to provide representation in specific amounts that relate to census information. That at least heavily implies that you think they are ethically responsible for the creation of specific content for a demographic. How far does this presumed obligation extend? Are they also ethically responsible for the creation of content that reflects ethnicity? Creed? Religion? Does this obligation stop at our borders or do they have an obligation to their international audience as well?
However, they are not obligated to monitor themselves. Monitoring is the role of their audience. When their audience says "hey, we've noticed that this group is underrepresented in your work", that's when the author's obligation kicks in. At that point, they should monitor their representation of that group until it is represented to a degree they believe is adequate. After that, they return monitoring duties to the audience, and simply try to be mindful of the group as they create in the future. If the audience still believes the group is underrepresented, or if representation drops again, they inform the author and the cycle begins anew.
If the author and the audience disagree with the level of representation that is adequate, the author should clearly indicate their position and the reasoning behind it, and the audience can choose whether they wish to remain an audience of someone who takes that position for those reasons.