4 Miranda Harrison on women leaving the industry
As a woman in her early 20s as I was when I first joined WiP, I think the issues were very much about being taken seriously as a career person. I think I was very aware of the, it was often quoted, the ‘pyramid’ in publishing where you had a broad base of women and they always used to say 70% of the workforce was women, but you pointed up in the pyramid in the top part is men. So that top 30%, the management, senior management level was nearly all men. And that was talked about a lot at that time, or at least I was talking about it, and I was very aware of it.
There was a lot of talking about breaking the glass ceiling, getting into that management level, senior management level, which is why the issue of childcare came up, a lot, because a lot of women left publishing and didn’t come back after children. For many reasons. I think very obviously financially because it was never well paid [laughs], and where there was the culture of doing crazy long hours you couldn’t possibly have a family in that kind of environment.
So you did lose a healthy percentage of talented people in their 30s. And actually not necessarily due to children. There was a huge number of people leaving in their 30s because they just were fed up with not having enough money.
And I think that that happened more with women because they were on lower salaries. I think that was what it was, and that pay gap was well known. So some people just said ‘Enough’s enough, I’m outta here’, and you lost really talented people as a result and therefore you didn’t get them at senior management level. This was all very much what we were talking about in our 20s.