Introducing GLAMR & Gender

I’ve been thinking about it over and over again, how to introduce GLAMR & Gender. How do I convey what is largely a foray into the unknown? Even defining it has been difficult. Is it a project? An initiative? A movement? A community? I don’t have the answers to all the questions yet, and that is part of why I wanted to do this. To learn and question the connections between my profession and the world around it, and what my place in it is. And to find people who are wondering and hoping so we can learn and grow together.

This all stemmed from an article in the Sydney Morning Herald about income, but the idea really formed from this tweet by Elizabeth, a Librarian in Sydney.

I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Despite being in an overwhelmingly female profession, men on average are getting paid more. The same was true across #GLAMR. Wages and money tend to be uncomfortable topics, and asking someone how much they earn can cross a line. It also got me thinking about how gender inequality can come into play in everything in information agencies. The structural problems that are pervasive in our society are ever present in the institutions in which we work.

I’ve been a feminist for around five years now, since before I started working in libraries, and it has crossed my mind a few times about how these two identities overlap. The key there being that I always kept them separate. Being overtly political or having discussions about my views hasn’t always gone well in my personal life. Bringing these into my professional life could be dangerous, especially in an industry I was trying to break into. As well, I misguidedly, always saw libraries (and those who work in them) as having to be neutral. Libraries are for everyone, right?

Well as I have begun to figure out, no they are not. By keeping to a false standard of neutrality, libraries (and other institutions) are only there for those who have the ability to access them. We can do better, and we need to. There are already strides being made, and we are becoming more critical. Things like critlib and libleadgender are making a place for more of these conversations, and I want to do the same. This tweet from #nls8 reaffirmed that I was doing the right thing.

GLAMR & Gender may be the jumping off point, but these issues are intersectional. I am merely one voice and one experience which is why I want to hear from all of you. I’m not always going to get it right but I’m trying. Let’s be aware, let’s have a discussion, and let’s make a difference.

We want to create a platform that encourages discussion and highlights the diversity of lived experience in the intersections of our identities and our professions. We want to have blogs written by a diverse range of voices. In the long term, we want to have a monthly guided chat on Twitter on a particular theme. And we want to share content that aligns with our goals. But we can’t do this without you so if you’re interested in being involved, please reach out.


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