Women On Air database launches to promote gender balance on the airwaves in Ireland

Minister Catherine Martin has encouraged women to sign up to the database and prompted media outlets to involve more women as guests.

A group of smiling women holding a sign reading 'Women On Air'

On Nollaig na mBan, Women On Air, an organisation that aims to help achieve greater gender balance on the airwaves, has launched a brand new database listing possible female contributors, experts and commentators.

The not-for-profit organisation hopes the database will provide 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”.

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin, released a video to mark the launch. Martin shares, “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.”

 

For those interested in adding their names to the database, some previous experience in broadcast media is desirable. However, women who don’t have experience are encouraged to take part in upcoming Women on Air media training sessions.

Minister Martin further shared how she herself took part in one of the training sessions, describing, “I am one of the many women who have been through the process and I found it hugely beneficial.” Early sign-ups to the database include former President of Ireland Mary McAleese.

Roisin Duffy, Chair of the Women On Air Board, added, “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.”

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