Saturday 17 March 2018

Dee Forbes says RTÉ has issues around equality and pay, but 'we're working hard to tackle them'

RTE Director General Dee Forbes. Photo: Steve Humphreys
RTE Director General Dee Forbes. Photo: Steve Humphreys

RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes has said there are issues in the national broadcaster around equality and pay.

The Cork woman told how she is proud to be leading the way to make RTÉ a more “inclusive” organisation as its first female Director General.

“RTÉ is not without its challenges. We get lots of good press and lots of bad press. We’ve been around for a long long time and yes there are issues. 

“There are issues around pay, there are issues around gender, equality. The important thing is we are tackling them. 

“If anything has come out of the Me Too and Times up Movement, it’s that there is more awareness now.

“There are conversations being had about, ‘how do we have a more diverse organisation? How do we have an organisation that is more inclusive? How do we address the issues of pay?’

“All of this is ongoing in RTÉ now and I am very proud to be leading that charge,” she said.

“It’s something we won’t solve over night because some of these things have been around for a long time.”

Speaking at the Press for Progress event at the National Concert Hall for International Women’s Day, Forbes admitted that many people questioned her choice to accept a position in RTÉ after working in the media industry in London for 27 years.

“I took the job, many wonder why. One of the main reasons for me was, I grew up with RTÉ. I grew up with one channel for most of my life. 

“Even though I was away for 27 years, being in media, I was intrigued by what was happening here anyway.

“I always watched RTÉ. It’s such an important part of the culture of this country. What RTÉ does is it champions Irish culture and I am very proud of that,” she said.

Forbes recalled receiving letters of support from members of the public when she arrived in RTÉ and said there is a responsibility that comes with being the first female Director General.

“I thought I would never come back to Ireland and then I got a phone call about the job in RTÉ.

“I was approached about the role and got into the process and here I am.

“I have to say, I am hugely proud to be the first female DG of RTÉ. That with it comes with a huge responsibility to RTÉ, our audiences, and other women,” she said.

Forbes stated that she believes the only thing that may hold women back is a lack of confidence.

“Once you get over the confidence hurdle, you can achieve anything,” she said.

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