Opinion: Being a female in a male-dominated radio industry
Emma Davis: I feel it is my duty to celebrate International Women’s Day in the best way I know how… to write about it.
Before I begin this article, I feel I must (Although I don’t actually know why) first state that International Men’s Day is on 19 th November 2019, and I will be sure to celebrate the creative, the innovative and the inspiring men in this wonderfully diverse media world we live and work in.
However, there’s no denying the fact that I am indeed a woman, and so I feel it is my duty to celebrate today in the best way I know how… to write about it.
I must also state that the brief article below is based on my experience alone, and although may seem as a generalised, sweeping statement, it is not. It is purely based on a few people I have worked with over the last 12 years.
International Women’s Day means many things to many people. It’s about celebrating the social, economical, cultural and political achievements of women past and present. And of course paving a better, stronger path for those of the future.
But, it’s not just that, it’s a very personal period of reflection for many. For me, this reflection falls to the industry I work in. I feel I am just starting out in my career in many ways, so I still have a long way to go. And whilst my business (voiceovers, copywriting and audio production) leaks into quite a varied range of industries, there’s absolutely no denying that I work in a male-dominated environment. Whether my client is a radio station, a marketing agency, an animation studio or publishing outlet, every one of them has CEOs, managers, sales reps, producers, engineers that are predominantly male. In fact, I can name but a couple of females I work with regularly within my work. It’s not a complaint, just a fact when looking through my client list.
Many clients even remark upon the fact that it’s quite rare for them to find a female with my skillset, confidence or enthusiasm for the work I do. Whilst this is often flattery on the surface, it comes across with a sense of nervousness. As I may be the first they have recognised, it makes some people feel uneasy.
I can’t help but feel let down by their ignorance.
I know so many confident, skilled, hardworking, grafting females that love nothing more that to get their hands dirty, get their teeth stuck into a plan and god-damn dominate a project when they get the opportunity.
And so the cycle begins.
Some males in this industry feel nervous or apprehensive about a woman with more skills, smarter ideas and a harder work ethic. So those female don’t push themselves as hard, to ensure they don’t step out of line and be at the top of the radio industry game.
And in turn, there are a lack of females at the highest level. So how can this cycle be broken?
I guess it’s all about acceptance.
If a man does a better job than me, fair play to him. Go for it! I can only learn from those skills to better my own chances at growing my business and career. Many of those that have provided me with the biggest inspiration to work harder and be better have been men. And I can only thank them for the opportunities and the lessons they gave me.
But if I am second choice because a decisive, confident female is seen as ‘difficult’, then there is a lot of work still left to do.
I absolutely adore radio. I love everything about the communication, the community, the passion and the skill that goes into creating a success of it. My love started at a very young age, and I married to my radio for life. For better or for worse.
However, I feel we are still rather behind when it comes to equality.
“We need some dolly birds there” was a quote I heard recently at a radio station regarding an outside broadcast.
This is not only sad for the poor girl they deem attractive enough to fulfill this role (Or indeed those who they deemed unfit for the purpose), but for any male that could have also missed out on providing a superb service for the event just because of his anatomy.
So, I guess on this International Women’s Day, I don’t intend to come across as an aggressive, angry feminist, but a positive, resolute and determined one that wants to celebrate the females for the good of the whole industry.
Man or woman. International Women’s Day is good for all of us.