The listing of a two-week internship at a charity auction – that sold for $10,000 – has prompted an avalanche of criticism. The notion of someone paying an exorbitant sum in order to work for free for an organisation has also been labeled as exploitation.
The editor-in-chief of the publication Mamamia told The Guardian that it “didn’t enter our minds”, that such a judgment could be made.
The silent auction was held at a lunch in Sydney on Thursday organised by the Women for the World fundraising group for the Catholic charity Caritas Australia.
Mamamia’s contribution was a three-month day-a-week or “two-week intensive” internship “to the adventurous individual”.
“Envisage yourself working alongside a senior editor with opportunities to pitch original ideas, harness social media skills, work with online media, and gain exclusive insights,” the advert read.
It had been “kindly donated by Mia Freedman”, with its value listed as “priceless”.
There has been much debate in recent months about the nature of unpaid internships, especially in the media and creative industries. Many trying to get a break in these industries often see working unpaid for a period of time as the only way to gain the experience necessary to get a job.