Women on Air moves to promote gender balance on airwaves

Not-for-profit group launches database of those willing to help with media opportunities

Minister for Media Catherine Martin said she had received ‘hugely beneficial’ Women on Air media training. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Minister for Media Catherine Martin said she had received ‘hugely beneficial’ Women on Air media training. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

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Women on Air, the not-for-profit organisation that campaigns for greater gender balance on the airwaves, has launched a new database of women who are “ready, willing and able to contribute to broadcast media opportunities”.

In a video message today, Minister for Media Catherine Martin will encourage broadcasters to use the resource and invite more women on to their programmes. To join the GDPR-compliant database, women should have some experience in contributing to broadcast media, while those without experience can register for a Women on Air media training session.

The Minister said she had previously received training through Women on Air, describing the training as “hugely beneficial”.

“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,” said Ms Martin.

“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.”

The launch of the database has been timed to coincide with Nollaig na mBan, or Women’s Christmas.

“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,” said Women on Air chairwoman Roisín Duffy.

“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.”

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