In 2010, Margaret E. Ward set up Women On Air in a response to the lack of female voices in Irish media – specifically on radio. At the time, the voices on Irish radio were nearly 90% male, according to a piece ‘Radio Gaga’ by Una Mullally. Things aren’t much better in early 2015, I’m afraid.
Women’s voices are sorely lacking from prime time radio and the number of women who present their own programmes is woefully low.
It annoys me that there are so few women presenters on national radio stations between the hours of 7am and noon. I’m starting to think, however, that being annoyed about it isn’t going to change anything. The only way that anything will change is if women and men insist on that change. So, I’ve decided that, for the next month, I’m only going to listen to women between those hours. If there is no female presenter on Irish radio, I’ll switch to the BBC or switch off. So, basically, my choice is between Morning Ireland on RTÉ (on one of the mornings that Claire Byrne or Rachel English present), Patricia Messinger on C103 or Tracy Clifford on Dublin’s Spin 103.8 (is 103 the pro-female frequency?).
While I’m delighted to hear these women on air, I despair that there are so few. I do hope I’m wrong and that there are tens more women who broadcast around the country between these hours. If I’ve missed one, would you be kind enough to point out my error in the comments box? Also – if you fancy it – why don’t you join me in my boycott of all-male radio?