12 Gail Rebuck reflects on the need for a return to WiP's mission


I think partly because of the economic downturn that we experienced in early 2008 along with the rest of the world and every industry, there was a kind of unconscious conservatism that crept back into pretty much every industry where people thought, “Let’s go for the safe option”, which is a man, who looks like me kind of thing. And women were seen as a risk, and there’d been other studies which showed that if one woman was appointed to a senior position that meant, give up on the rest of them. All this stuff is out there, so I think it’s a good moment for the industry to reconsider what’s going on, and I think there’s a dialogue to be had and things have partially come full circle. And I think all that stuff that Women in Publishing used to do about assertiveness training is relevant again today in the post ‘Lean In’ age. We can go back and now try and figure out what mentoring or sponsorship we need for this next generation so that women are able to get to a certain point and then want to go on. Because I’ve seen far too many incredibly able women who decide to stop for their own personal reasons, not corporate reasons, but they’ve decided not to take that extra risk and go on to the next stage. And that is something that I think we have to as an industry reverse, while looking at diversity in management in all its guises.

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