[NWCI] Fewer than 1 in 4 ‘on-air’ voices are women.

A new survey conducted by the National Women’s Council of Ireland shows that less than one quarter of voices in radio news and current affairs broadcasting are women.

The survey was conducted in March as part of research for the NWCI submission to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) for the draft Code on fairness and objectivity in news and current affairs.

It shows that Ireland’s current affairs programmes are everywhere dominated by male voices as presenters, expert guests, in headlines, sports and business.   Speaking today Orla O’Connor, acting CEO of the Women’s Council said,

“Our airwaves are more than three-quarters male dominated, our Dáil is 85% male dominated.  Women are marginalised from the most powerful bodies in the State.  Broadcasters have a responsibility to change this.”

The programme with the lowest participation for women was RTÉ Radio One’s ‘News at One’.  In the week of the survey there were 49 male voices and only 7 women ( 87.5/12.5% ).  In one show surveyed there were 11 men and 0 women.  The shows with the highest participation of women were Newstalk’s the ‘Right Hook’ sharing joint first with RTÉ’s Sunday with Marian Finucane.  However, neither show managed to have even a third of women’s voices on air.  Orla O’Connor commented,

“The BAI Code has a commitment to fairness, objectivity and diversity.  But news and current affairs can not be considered fair or diverse if over half the population are excluded from the airwaves.  The Women’s Council believes the BAI Code must include specific provisions to encourage programme producers and stations to include more women in their shows.”

“Specific selection criteria must be developed for the inclusion of contributors in both radio and television.  This would include a balance between women and men participants, as well as other aspects such as geography and membership of minority groups.  The media must mirror the people and society, not just itself.”

The full results of the survey, and a similar survey from 2010, are available at www.nwci.ie  alongside a copy of the Women’s Council submission to the BAI.

The submission can also NWCI draft Code submission BAI final

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