Minister Catherine Martin encourages women to sign up and asks media outlets to do their part by involving more women guests.

Women on Air is today launching a new database for media of women who are ready, willing, and able to contribute to broadcast media opportunities.

Women on Air is a not-for-profit organisation with the goal of driving greater gender balance on the airwaves in Ireland. Founded 10 years ago with key funding provided by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, as well support from other organisations, it provides media training and mentoring for women and advocates for greater gender equality on Irish broadcast media.

The new Women on Air media database has been created in compliance with GDPR, and with a view to providing media with greater visibility and access to women from a wide range of backgrounds and expertise who can provide commentary and insights on TV and radio programmes, and on podcasts. Early sign ups include former President of Ireland Mary McAleese, pharmacist and former TD Kate O’Connell, and designer Sonya Lennon.

In order to join the database, women should have some demonstrated experience in broadcast media. Women who don’t yet have experience but who want to broadcast, are encouraged to register for an upcoming Women on Air media training session.

In a video message to mark the online launch, the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin TD, said;

“Gender equality in all walks of life is something I feel very strongly about, and that is why I value the work of Women on Air. We are making progress in Ireland but there are still many areas where women are unfortunately the minority including in politics, and unfortunately on our airwaves. If you are a member of the broadcast media, please do your part and invite more women to take part in your programmes so that together we can achieve gender balance on our airwaves.”

Minister Martin encouraged women to either sign up to the media database, or to register to take part in one of the Women on Air’s training sessions;

“I am one of the many women who have been through the {Women on Air media training} process and I found it hugely beneficial.”

Chair of the Women on Air Board, Roisin Duffy said;

“The new Women on Air database has been designed as a resource for media, to ensure that they have visibility of and access to as wide a range of women commentators as possible, so that we can continue to work to address what is an ongoing lack of gender balance across a lot of our broadcast media in Ireland. Coverage on Covid-19 is just the latest example that we can point to where unfortunately women’s voices have again been in the minority. There is no doubt that the direction of public policy is influenced by commentary and debate on broadcast media and therefore if women’s voices are absent or in the minority, this has a serious impact on wider society.

So, this year on Nollaig na mBan, we are asking women to register on the new media database, or if they don’t feel ready to speak with media just yet to register for one of our upcoming trainings”

Commenting on the launch, CEO of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, Michael O’Keeffe said;

“As a key funder of Women on Air, the BAI is delighted to welcome the launch of this database. The BAI is committed to promoting gender equality in the Irish audio-visual sector, as reflected in our Gender Action Plan. The visibility afforded by this database supports this aim, demonstrating the breadth of female talent and experience available in broadcast media as well as acting as a digital resource for media training. We congratulate all involved in its development and wish it every success.

To sign up to the media database or to register an interest in media training, please click here.

About Women on Air

  • Women on Air has provided training and mentoring to more than 70 women since it was established in 2010.
  • In a submission as part of the BAI’s public consultation on its upcoming Strategy Statement 2021 – 2023, Women on Air called for gender quotes to be established on broadcast media, where it is possible to require them. And for an initial ratio of 40-60 to be set down, with the aim of achieving 50/50 within a given timeframe.
  • In its submission to the Citizens Assembly on Gender Equality in 2020 Women on Air also proposed that organisations in receipt of State funding should be required to set and meet targets on gender equality. (In 2017, BBC’s Outside Source committed to an on-air gender equality and it increased the per centage of women on air from 39% to 52% in 6 months. In turn, its viewership increased by 25%. The BBC adopted it across the organisation, and other media organisations have since followed suit.)