3 Tamar Karet describes the beginning of WiP and the formation of it aims
There was a lot of very heated debate, but I don’t remember any actual arguments – very quickly being agreed that if group committee made sense, because we were collaborative, that’s how the women, the Women’s Movement worked. What were we doing there? What were the aims? And that was the hardest part.
Mainly what we wanted to do didn’t have a name in those days. But we were really networking. We found it so good to get together with other women from other houses to be able to compare how they went about it. ‘Cos an awful lot of us had nobody with whom we could exchange notes. Certainly it wasn’t true for any of the foreign rights people. We were usually on our own and there were quite a few work colleagues, media colleagues, were all men, so none of them could either.
What was going to be the value of having that network?
I’m sure we didn’t articulate it to ourselves, we just thought, ‘Oh here’s somebody I can ask when I need help’. I think that was about all that we thought. It didn’t go much further than that, and also wasn’t it nice to have a shoulder to cry on? – the support network in that sense.
It was to increase women’s contribution, to publishing which you can translate as getting a leg up, to facilitate the exchange of information, to provide mutual support, and to improve the status of women in the profession. And I think that last one had a certain amount of trouble because, even though we ourselves were beginning to get towards more senior positions, it wasn’t being recognised. So if you went to advisory groups, to the Publishers Association for changing things, you wouldn’t find women on them. Everything always seemed to be the men. It was completely disproportionate. So even the most senior women were not being heard. And that’s what we meant by improving the status of women in publishing. But we had no idea how we would do it.