Tuesday 6 December 2016

If women's voices aren't heard, they will just become more marginalised

Published 10/11/2015 | 02:30

Sean O’Rourke’s (left) show increased its female participation from 25pc in 2013 to 44pc last year, as a recent study highlighted the paucity of women broadcasters like Miriam O’Callaghan, right, in current affairs
Sean O’Rourke’s (left) show increased its female participation from 25pc in 2013 to 44pc last year, as a recent study highlighted the paucity of women broadcasters like Miriam O’Callaghan, right, in current affairs

Female voices are largely absent from public life in Ireland, but young women are increasingly turning to social media to circumvent this censorship and get their message out.

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A study released today contains more depressing information about the number of women contributing to current affairs programmes on national radio. Examining a three-week period at the end of 2014, the 'Hearing Women's Voices?' survey found that, on average, 72pc of people speaking on flagship news shows on RTÉ, Today FM and Newstalk were men.

RTÉ fared best with 37pc female participation; Today FM managed 30pc; while at Newstalk, with figures that wouldn't look amiss in a survey of Saudi Arabian media, just 18pc of contributors were female. The report, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, also found the paucity of female voices doesn't just extend to the numbers appearing on current affairs programmes. When women actually do appear, they get less airtime than their male counterparts, while the majority of "expert" guests who appear on programmes are also male.

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