This isn’t ground-breaking news to most, but I’m a woman.
This isn’t actually a problem in itself. I love being a woman, I’m comfortable in this role. In fact, I actually think it quite suits me. However, there is an issue. The problem isn’t in being a woman itself, it is in the unequal access to opportunities that we often face, as women.
It’s 2015, there has been universal suffrage in the UK since 1928, and yet we women often earn less than men and find it difficult to advance in our careers to the same level as men.
Pah! That’s pretty unacceptable and it’s a much bigger problem than I’m able to tackle at the moment but I do work away at it, hacking away at barriers and hurdling others when I can. I might be just a wee girly thing but I’m the Managing Director of a TV company, I’m a Director of another TV company and some of my programme making involves working in the male dominated world of sport. Yep, a lassie who dares to venture into that realm. A lot of the time it’s fine but even still, despite my knowledge and my 20 years experience I still get “could your boss no make it the day hen” disparaging looks at some meetings….
Anyway, like I said, it isn’t my intention to blether about problems, this wee post is about solutions.
One thing at a time my exceptional ladies. Something heartening and positive is happening and it’s just for you.
I’m also a writer. A novelist. And let’s face it, writing is difficult for everyone. It’s not easy to snatch ‘the big break’. There isn’t someone on the street corner dishing out golden publishing contracts to the miraculous few who managed to walk the path without standing on a crack or splitting a pole.
It takes time to find a home for your writing; it also takes a lot of hard work, definitely some luck and even finance to get to the place you need to be. Finance that not everyone has. And, yep, you’ve guessed it. If you’re a woman it can be that bit harder. We get reviewed less, we earn less…blah blah you know the pattern. It’s not easy.
However, good things. Thanks to the amazing and unbelievably determined Kerry Hudson there is now a wonderful opportunity for female writers to source free advice and engage in female support in the form of the WoMentoring Project.
The project offers a hand and an ear to women writers who are bustling with talent but just that little bit uncertain, and skint; exceptional women who can’t afford to buy advice. We, as in the WoMentoring mentors, are going to offer that advice and any additional support we can to make the road a little bit less stressful. I’m thrilled to be one of the mentors in the project.
Have a look below and you’ll find out everything you need to know about the mentoring service. Please read the instructions carefully and if you’re going to apply I wish you every success. WoMentoring is like a group hug with a kick in the ass thrown in for good measure. We’ll give you love but we’ll also make you stronger. Let’s do this girls. Like I say, bit by bit. We’ll get there…
Here’s a link to my profile on the #Womentoring website. If you think I can offer you support and guidance then please apply! Good luck!
Oh, and if you’re having a gander at the #Womentoring Twitter page, please follow and stop by to say a big thank you to Kerry Hudson as without her this wouldn’t be happening. An exceptional woman indeed. So, details below and lots more information on the website!
The WoMentoring Project exists to offer free mentoring by professional literary women to up and coming female writers who would otherwise find it difficult to access similar opportunities.
The mission of The WoMentoring Project is simply to introduce successful literary women to other women writers at the beginning of their careers who would benefit from some insight, knowledge and support. The hope is that we’ll see new, talented and diverse female voices emerging as a result of time and guidance received from our mentors.
Each mentor selects their own mentee and it is at their discretion how little or much time they donate. We have no budget, it’s a completely free initiative and every aspect of the project – from the project management to the website design to the PR support – is being volunteered by a collective of female literary professionals. Quite simply this is about exceptional women supporting exceptional women. Welcome to The WoMentoring Project.
Why do we need it?
Like many great ideas the WoMentoring Project came about via a conversation on Twitter. While discussing the current lack of peer mentoring and the prohibitive expense for many of professional mentoring we asked our followers – largely writers, editors and agents – who would be willing to donate a few hours of their time to another woman just starting out. The response was overwhelming – within two hours we had over sixty volunteer mentors.
The WoMentoring Project is run on an entirely voluntary basis and all of our mentors are professional writers, editors or literary agents. Many of us received unofficial or official mentoring ourselves which helped us get ahead and the emphasis is on ‘paying forward’ some of the support we’ve been given.
In an industry where male writers are still reviewed and paid more than their female counterparts in the UK, we wanted to balance the playing field. Likewise, we want to give female voices that would otherwise find it hard to be heard, a greater opportunity of reaching their true potential.
In an ideal world we would offer a mentor to every writer who needed and wanted one. Of course this isn’t possible so instead we’ve tried to ensure the application process is accessible while also ensuring that out mentors have enough information with which to make their selection.
Applicant mentees will submit a 1000 word writing sample and a 500 word statement about how they would benefit from free mentoring. All applications will be for a specific mentor and mentees can only apply for one mentor at a time. Selections will be at the mentor’s discretion.