7 Kay Symons describes the pitfalls of rejecting a patriarchal power structure


What we never had was a Chair. Because that was patriarchal, that was the way men did things.  And this was one of the aspects in which Women in Publishing was, I think I even felt then, a bit on the batty end of feminism.  There was a lot of discussion in this whole feminist world at the time about power structures and how they’d been devised by men and they were not congenial to women.  So having some people in charge, and other people being told what to do wasn’t necessarily the right way to run the Big Society, society at large, or any particular organisation.

So, we took it in turns to chair  the main meetings, and I think we probably sourced the speakers for the ones that we ran.  So, we took it in turns to  do that through the whole committee. But at the committee meetings we were never allowed to take a vote.  And nobody was allowed to say, ‘I think we’ve talked about this long enough, now let’s just do this.’

So, one of my fondest memories of that period – it always seemed to be me and Sue Butterworth – so, Sue Butterworth, she hadn’t at that point set up Silver Moon but she and Jane Cholmeley did quite soon afterwards.  And I remember being in committee meetings, particularly at her house, and just arguing and arguing and arguing until 12 o’clock, half past 12  [Laughs]  and neither of us would back down, and there was no other way of coming to a decision, but to just keep arguing until somebody gave up.   My memory of it anyway, was that it was always extremely good natured, it just went on a long time because we were both very stubborn.  And the rest of the committee would, sort of be sitting there waiting for us to resolve this so that they could all go home.

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