12 Charlotte Gascoigne on the attitudes that held women back in the workplace
A gentleman’s profession is what people always used to say about book publishing. ‘A gentleman’ meaning a gentleman of leisure, people who didn’t have a trade or profession, it was something for people with independent means. But it was a very male-dominated world.
There was at the time very much a view that women were not suited to managerial positions, that women were biologically unsuitable, didn’t have what it takes, too emotional, get too upset by things, not ruthless enough, really interested in other things – being at home with the children. And it’s very insidious, there’s an awful lot of unarticulated, taken-for-granted cultural stuff there that was going on.
I mean there were some egregious examples of overt sexism, but that wasn’t generally speaking what was going on, it was much more custom and practice, lack of role models. It was just the way things were.