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Gal-dem announces internship scheme

Check out how this company treats creatives fairly and puts so-called media giants to shame

On Tuesday, Gal-dem took to Instagram to announce the launch of its inaugural internship scheme in partnership with PressPad – a company that enables media professionals with a spare room to put up interns who need somewhere affordable to stay in London.

Gal-dem, which is an award-winning new media platform produced solely by women and non-binary people of colour will support the intern financially by offering the London Living wage, while PressPad will seek to match interns with mentor-hosts according to their interests and career goals.

In an industry where women remain underpaid and under-promoted, and just 0.4% of British journalists are Muslim and only 0.2% are black – according to research by City University (reported here by The Guardian) – this is a momentous change and a step forward in the standard internship culture that is renowned for being inaccessible to anyone without the appropriate privileges ie: cash and contacts.

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The initiative echoes the difficulties Gal-dem’s founder faced in her own start-up years. Feeling isolated and hopeless in an industry she was trying to break, Gal-dem’s CEO Liv Little started the publication during her final year at university. She began reaching out on Facebook groups in search of people who wanted to help and quickly found a bunch of like-minded gals that stuck like glue and are at the core of what Gal-dem is today.

Between them all, they juggled jobs, university, dissertations and Gal-dem around the clock. High-stress levels and wonky work-life balance led to some loss of hair, as revealed by Little in this month’s editor’s letter, who says self-care was thrown out the window. However, four years later, and now in a nine-person office, all getting paid their first Gal-dem salaries, this marks a new beginning in the company’s journey.

Mariel Richards, head of strategy at Gal-dem, says: “Gal-dem is now entering a new phase of life, working formalised hours, salaried, in an office and with a dedicated commercial arm to fund the business. We have come a huge way in four years, and all learned an incredible amount juggling our full-time careers and voluntary work for Gal-dem on the side. Now that we do have the opportunity to create a space for the next generation to learn in a formalised setting, and facilitate the internship that we all wish we had had to start our careers, it’s important for us that we do this as soon as possible, and as responsibly as possible.”

Richards continues: “We are specifically looking for applicants who are straight out of sixth form or University or in the early stages of their careers so that we can support a new generation of creatives whose voices we have the space and ability to amplify.”

This pushes one to beg the question of how such a young media company has been able to provide a fair opportunity like this, while the conglomerates have failed? The current internship structure across the industry is unattainable to most. Gal-dem is setting the standard for what an acceptable internship offer looks like, which will hopefully set the blueprint for the future.

Media giants could take a leaf out of the company’s book, they have a responsibility to diversify their employees and make spaces where the voices of unrepresented people are heard. They need to create environments in which everyone can work fairly and safely. If a four-year-old company can live up to that responsibility then there’s no excuse for why the conglomerates can’t.

Here’s to the future Gal-dem!

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