Submission to be considered at this weekend’s Citizens’ Assembly on Gender Equality 

The Citizens’ Assembly on Gender Equality reconvenes this weekend and amongst the submissions the citizens will consider as part of its deliberations on the subject of ‘Women in Leadership’ is one from Women on Air.

Women on Air is a not for profit organisation with the mission of achieving greater gender balance on broadcast media in Ireland and it is marking its 10-year anniversary this week.*

In its submission to the Citizens’ Assembly, Women on Air is calling for the introduction of measurement and reporting of gender balance on publicly funded media, and for funding allocations to be linked to agreed targets being met.

All policy decisions relating to broadcasting and gender equality must include a commitment to achieving gender equality on our airwaves, it says in its submission. 

“Women are the majority in Irish society and yet they are consistently underrepresented on our airwaves. Public policy is influenced, and indeed often changed, by views expressed on broadcast media. That is why we believe gender equality on the airwaves is essential for a fair and functioning democracy. Women consume media and pay for publicly funded media just as men do; they are entitled to hear their concerns, their views and most importantly their voices on the airwaves in Ireland.  Equally, seeing is believing – if women hear more of their own gender on the airwaves, it will encourage more to follow suit.”

In its submission it also points to progress made in this area by the BBC; in 2017 its ‘Outside Source’ programme committed to an on air gender equality and it increased the percentage of women on air from 39% to 52% in 6 months. Its viewership increased by 25% and, consequently, the BBC adopted it across the organisation.  

*Since it was established in October 2010, and with support from the BAI, Women on Air has run seminars, events and informal training workshops to help give women the skills and confidence to go on radio and television. It has trained more than 70 women including spokespersons from Waking the Feminists, the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA); women on both sides of the 8th Amendment Referendum; and women involved in science, charities, direct provision, minority groups, law, business and finance.