2 Fenella Greenfield: 'You were invisible'


You know it was so wrong, what was going on.  I would sit in meetings and there would be five men and me and the men would go, ‘The five of us sitting round the table’, and there were six of us sitting round the table because I was sitting there, and people would go ‘The five …’.  You were invisible. It’s so different now.

When I worked at Andre Deutsch I was the publicity assistant and I would often be asked by him to go to Brighton, pick up his mother and bring her back to London.  That was one of my jobs, was to look after his ailing mother, because I was the publicity girl.  It was that sort of thing. You weren’t respected as a professional person in that role. And a lot of girls did that, you know, men didn’t do that role, women did publicity.

And that was the other thing, it started to become very clear that all the financial directors were men, all the editors were women and they were very badly paid, all the rights managers were women and they were all very badly paid, and all the publishers were men and they were all fantastically wealthy, and there was a real demarcation of which were the women’s jobs. Women did rights and editing, and men did marketing and sales and finance.

But, yeah, I used to have to go and pick Andre’s mother up, bring her to the office or take her to Brighton I seem to remember doing once.

Did you ever feel that you could say anything about this?

No, because, and I think it’s still an issue today, that as a woman I was brought up in a world where you just kept your mouth shut and did as you were told.  So I think that’s why I latched on to Women in Publishing because I could stand up for that, but I wasn’t standing up for myself. I think quite a lot of people who get involved in union activities or politics, it’s because they don’t feel they can stand up for themselves, so they stand up for the wider group. Hoping that somehow if they changed that they will benefit.

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