I, for one, certainly prick up my ears when I hear a woman’s name mentioned on BBC Radio 4 as they credit the editors and producer. Here’s why, the percentage of female editors on the radio? 1%. What’s the percentage of studio operators who are female? 10%. Just 2% of BBC local radio breakfast show solo presenters are female and that 2% is one female breakfast presenter in Milton Keynes.
Sound Women have gathered together an impressive list of women in radio to participate in and promote the organisation such as Lauren Laverne, Zoe Ball, Annie Nightingale, Fi Glover and thick skinned Today programme presenter Sarah Montague,
“The Today programme has a healthy mix of men and women behind the scenes, but when you listen, you don't always hear that. Today recognises that as a problem. Sound Women is clearly an organisation that is trying to help work through such dilemmas.”
The organisation was started by Maria Williams, who has worked in radio for over 2 decades, counting deputy editor of Women’s Hour and creating Saturday Live amongst her radio CV highlights. Exasperated by the reasons proffered regarding the dearth of women in radio; no women apply, women aren’t as advanced (interestingly the opposite is true, 73% have degrees, compared to 60% of men) and women are too shrill, Williams decided the time was ripe for Sound Women.
Sound Women hope to emulate the Orange Prize for Fiction and have their own award ceremony for women who excel in radio. These radio statistics look anachronistic; I hope Sound Women is going to change them very soon. We are women, hear us roar. And while we’re at it let us edit, produce and do the tech on that roar.