8 Julia MacRae remembers being the first female board member of Hamish Hamilton

Transcript:

Can you remember the salary that you were offered on starting?

Only that it wasn’t very much!  Much lower than a male equivalent would have had.  I seem to remember that.  It was ever thus, wasn’t it – and it still is.

Could you have tried to negotiate your salary up?

I did, yes, I did.  And also when I was put on the board all the male equivalents had cars and I didn’t.  So I went to Jamie [Hamish Hamilton] and said ‘Where’s my car?’ And he was so taken aback, that I got one. And it wasn’t that he was being superior, it just didn’t occur to him.

There was a sales conference in Scotland and we went up overnight and the men had sleeping berths, single ones, and I was asked to share, and I said, ‘No. I either get a single berth or I don’t go.’  In a sense it was being a feminist but that didn’t exist then.

It just seemed to me that there was no reason why I shouldn’t have the same privileges.  It was just that they weren’t used to women in that kind of situation.

This is the important element I think, that must apply also to various other Australians who’ve come here: we have no idea of the class system so we say what we think.

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