5 Jane Anger discusses how WiP offered a supportive environment in which women might ask questions
There was an intention to be honest and helping each other. There was a great sense of that in Women in Publishing. So, very senior people, women, would give their time free of charge and talk about their area and they would often say things like, ‘You know, when we interview men, they blag it, they can pretend they do it.’ They said, ‘If you want to apply for a job like such and such, phone one of us up, get some information.’
And they were very encouraging about people wanting to move up the ladder in terms of jobs but also into an area you might not have tried, so if you hadn’t tried Rights but you want to try it, phone so and so up and have a chat with them and we’ll help you. And phone us afterwards when you’ve got the job, because that’s what the men do, and they were really clear about that.
Why was that important for you, hearing that?
Because I guess it made things possible, made things seem possible and it opened my eyes to that’s what happens. I don’t think I’d realised that men do, did that. I knew enough to know that men don’t concentrate on the things they can’t do, but I hadn’t articulated it in that way and that’s what Women in Publishing was great at because you had so many women articulating it altogether and looking at different aspects of it with different degrees of skill in looking at it, verbalising it, lots of things just went chunk, chunk, chunk into place. And I think that’s true of any organisation where you get a supportive environment that counteracts the prevailing politics or the prevailing way of doing things that might involve excluding other people.
Even though, you know, that wasn’t a bunch of mates. I’m not on my own in questioning all this. It’s quite hard work always questioning or feeling you’re questioning inside or not feeling quite the right person in that role. Yes, so it felt really supportive. It was great.