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DJs work together to give women a louder voice in radio

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Summary of story from the Observer, October 30, 2011

DJs and presenters in the UK including Laura Laverne, Annie Mac and Sarah Montague are supporting a new organisation set up to represent women in the radio industry.

Called Sound Women, the group will be launched at the Radio Festival in Salford tomorrow with a report on women in UK radio by Skillset, the skills council for the creative industries.

Sound Women has already set up a mentoring scheme for women in radio, which will be run by the BBC.

There are also plans to develop a contacts network to help employers and conference organisers in radio recruit women.

The organisation was formed after journalist Miranda Sawyer complained in her radio column about yet another male-dominated Sony Radio Academy awards. She was approached by Maria Williams, a respected executive producer who has worked at Radio 1 and Woman’s Hour.

More than 200 women in the industry were approached and the likes of Sarah Montague, Lisa Snowdon, Zoe Ball, Margherita Taylor, Gemma Cairney, Victoria Derbyshire, Angie Greaves, Annie Mac, Annie Nightingale, Lauren Laverne and Edith Bowman said they supported an organisation for women in radio:

“All said they loved radio, and they loved their job, but that the medium still felt male-dominated. And you only have to look at the roster at stations as varied as 1Xtra, Absolute, Capital and Magic to see that they’re right,” writes Sawyer.

While women working in radio are mostly employed in occupations like human resources, finance, IT, secretarial or admin work, the majority of presenters are men.

Magic 105.4’s Angie Greaves is one of a handful of women who presents a drive-time show on her own in London. Across the UK, 82 per cent of BBC local radio breakfast shows are hosted by a solo man, while only one is presented by a woman.

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