The Globe and Mail has a problem with women. The problem is, women keep quitting.
Here’s a list of editors who have exited the Globe in the last ten days:
Kathryn Hayward, Life editor, quit for a part-time position at Today’s Parent Magazine.
Christina Vardanis, Assistant Focus editor, quit.
Sarah Lilleyman, Globe Toronto editor, quit to become an Associate Editor at the Winnipeg Free Press.
Maggie Wrobel, Style editor, on voluntary leave.
“It’s a huge loss,” says a former Globe editor. “Those four are backbone people. They won’t be able to replace them.”
While none of the four parting editors will speak to CANADLAND about their departures*, many current and former female employees of the Globe did, on condition of anonymity. These sources unanimously believe that the women are running from the Globe, and not towards other opportunities.
And they’re not alone.
Here’s a list of women who’ve chosen to leave editorial positions at the Globe and Mail in the last three years:
Who have we missed? Send names to firstname.lastname@example.org. Sources will not be identified. UPDATE: by popular demand, please send names of guys who left, too. Let’s compare.
The names above include top editors, a very popular columnist and reporters who have broken big stories and won multiple NNAs and Michener awards, all of whom left secure jobs at Canada’s paper of record at a time when the newspaper business is in absolute turmoil.
As we are told is the case with the editors who just jumped ship, many of the women on the 3 year list, CANADALAND has learned, had nowhere better to go- they just didn’t want to work at the Globe anymore.
The Globe and MALE lol amirite?
Sources say the paper has a serious management and morale problem, and that many of the women who have quit have born the brunt of the paper’s top-down style. “It’s a traditionally masculine, competitive culture,” says one current staffer.
Power at the Globe, sources say, is consolidated with a group of male editors, with female editors tasked with day-to-day execution with little say, control or influence.
This inner-circle boy’s club is comprised of Editor-in-Chief David Walmsley, Deputy Editor Sinclair Stewart, National Editor Dennis Choquette, Political Editor Ryan MacDonald, and Features and Weekend head Gabe Gonda.
According to a former Globe editor, the problem isn’t one of overt sexism or harassment. Instead, it’s a subtler form of discrimination. As described to CANADALAND, the culture of the 2nd floor newsroom decision-makers is an endless game of back-slapping, one-upmanship and status-jockeying. Underlings who carry out editorial orders without complaint regardless of their own circumstances are held in good odour and can ascend, to a point. Little to no value is placed on including female voices in top-level decisions. CANADALAND’s source believes the group is blind to the impact their clique has on female editors and writers:
“They just don’t get it. They think of themselves as post-feminist guys, friends with women, and so on. But they actually are a tight little homogenous boys’ club, and there isn’t a lot of room for women at The Globe to really make a mark.”
A common complaint is of micro-management. Walmsley, Gonda or “Sinc” will dictate the angle of a story, and female editors will be tasked to produce copy to match. This often means compelling reporters to keep digging for quotes until they find ones to match the masthead-editors’ pre-determined angles.
Another common scenario, according to sources, has Globe staffers taking maternity leave and then asking for extensions or more flexible schedules. They then find themselves sidelined, their “commitment to journalism” sometimes explicitly questioned. If they leave, they are required to pay back their maternity top-up.
According to a former editor:
“The Globe is not a place that’s interested in creative arrangements with women who need to leave to pick up their kids from daycare.”
She says that while the workplace culture has a disproportionate impact on women, everyone feels it:
“You work like crazy and you’re not appreciated. The Globe is notorious for not making people feel appreciated.”
David Walmsley, Sinclair Stewart, Dennis Choquette, Ryan MacDonald, and Gabe Gonda have been approached for comment. This post will be updated with their responses, should they arrive.
* CLARIFICATION: an earlier version of this post suggested that the four editors who left the Globe most recently actively declined to comment to CANADALAND prior to publication. In fact, requests for comment did not reach all four before we posted. For the record: one declined prior to publication, one after, and two have not explicitly responded. We are confident that all four are aware of our interest in speaking with them. We remain eager to include their perspectives and will update this post should any comment from them arrive.