2 Jane Judd discusses making friends, learning about publishing and exchanging information about pay and conditions at WiP meetings
I vaguely remember some of the early meetings being so well populated that we sat on the floor ‘cos we’d run out of chairs and seeing four or five women up on like a panel. It was never presided over by one woman, one person, there were always several people, I think, who would be talking or would be, say, leading the discussion and then there would be a speaker, perhaps, and people would do questions and answers afterwards and then a chance to have a drink and a chat afterwards.
And it was a way to make friends, it was a way to make contacts and it was also a way to learn, to learn something about the industry, to learn about, you know, because I was still so green in lots of different ways, it was very useful to me to learn more about the ins and outs of publishing, the names of people who counted, the publishers who, perhaps, had more liberal ideas about employing women as opposed to others.
You know, and we’d even exchange information about our salaries. And the NUJ did its best to help us out and, whenever we were in negotiation with management to get better pay and conditions, they would send somebody to help us out. But to be armed with that information from other women in other publishers about their pay and conditions, it was, of course, it was very useful to have that. To be able to say, well in Penguin or in Collins or Hodder, they do this or they have that and of course. That would undermine the management negotiations, who would say, well this is the way it is, and we’d say, well no it isn’t.
So I think that directly made a huge difference. And then, you know, indirectly just giving people confidence. And, oh by the way, there’s a job going in the editorial department of such and such a company, make sure you get your CV in if you are interested.