From Publishing Perspectives:
Today (September 3), the PublisHer professional network committed to working for gender equality in world publishing opens a new series of video interviews.
In the first of these interviews–the series is called #Unmasked, and is now available on the organization’s YouTube channel–the Nairobi journalist and storyteller Maïmouna Jallow interviews Angela Wachuka, who with Wanjiru Koinange has co-founded the nonprofit Book Bunk Trust.
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Angela Wachuka’s work is familiar for Book Bunk’s centerpiece project of restoring the McMillan Memorial Library in Nairobi’s city center. She talks with Jallow about how “One of the things that really bothered us from the beginning” was that the McMillan facility was originally opened in 1931 as a feature of what Wachuka calls “an ode to colonial opulence,” second only in age in Kenya to Mombasa’s Seif bin Salim Library.
“The thinking at the time was that Africans would not use” the McMillan Library “at any point.” Its restoration today is thus as much a redirection of the facility’s mission and availability as it is a redevelopment of a valuable physical property.
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The new #Unmasked series of interviews is part of a wider initiative from PublisHer, an effort to equip women in publishing with outlooks and approaches that may help them gain traction in the international industry, particularly once travel and more nearly normal business activity is permitted in our vaccinated future.
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The wisdom of PublisHer’s approach is that it’s capturing some of the remaining time under the brunt of the contagion’s threat to create a multi-pronged strategy that women in publishing can access and develop now, with an eye to positioning themselves for making new ground in publishing’s leadership when the world’s commercial engines rev back up to speed.
You’ll noticed, too, that the organization is beginning to use the useful term bookwomen, more frequently found in British-English dictionaries than in American-English references.
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While the mentors announced today are all women, it’s interesting to note that one of them–PublisHer board member Tracey Armstrong, president and CEO of Copyright Clearance Center–has said in past interviews with Publishing Perspectives that women should be mentored by men as well as by other women.
“I do think that mentoring is important,” Armstrong said to us in a 2017 interview. “But I think it’s as important for men to mentor women as it is for women to mentor women emerging in their careers. How those men made achievements in their careers, I think it’s important for them to impart that” to women.
As the mentoring program develops, it will be interesting to see if that logic plays out in participation by male leadership in the industry.
The program is set up as “a deliberately uncomplicated” plan that offers a confidential, one-hour meeting on a video conferencing platform. Mentors and mentees agree whether to continue to meet and how often. The program is free of charge.
Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives
This sounds to PG like traditional publishing is a difficult misogynist nut to crack.