Men outshouting women on radio

// 23 May 2011

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Men’s voices dominate the airwaves, an assessment of the ratio of male to female presenters on radio has concluded.

Journalist, novelist and sometimes F-Word contributor Bidisha totted up the number of presenters on one week’s radio programming, and found that men took up between 75% and 95% of the jobs.

Bidisha says these are the numbers based on the schedule for this week – from 6.30am on Friday 20 May 2011 until 6.30am on Friday 27 May 2011. XFM did the worst, with women making up only 7% of presenters. Here are the full numbers:

  • XFM has 13 men and 1 woman (7%)
  • Kiss has 24 men and 3 women, one of whom presents the breakfast show with two male colleagues
  • BBC Radio One has 28 men and 4 women, of whom one is Annie Nightingale doing one show on Thursday from 2am until 4am
  • BBC Radio Two has 38 men and 7 women
  • BBC 6 Music has 23 men and 4 women, of whom one is not a regular but is presenting a one-off six part series
  • Heart London has 12 men and 3 women, of whom two are in mixed duos
  • Absolute Radio has 12 men and 4 women
  • Magic has a cosy routine of the same 6 men and 2 women regular presenters, as well as one afternoon show on a Sunday presented by Kim Wilde
  • Classic FM has 12 men and 4 women (25%)

Detail of a poster from 1951, shared on Flickr by roadsidepictures

Comments From You

Feminist Avatar // Posted 23 May 2011 at 11:06 pm

And, even when women speak, their voices are used in different ways. I wrote about this recently at:

Janis // Posted 24 May 2011 at 7:11 am

Those are absolutely shocking statistics. Added to the absence of women’s voices, the research a couple of years ago showing that women’s voices aren’t ‘heard’ and you get almost complete silence. Add that to the invisibility caused by sexist language and they we are, back to that second sex position.

One bright spot that gave women some visibility was the French women’s protest about sexist comments in the media over the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case.

Marie // Posted 24 May 2011 at 8:57 am

What about Radio 4? I’d be interested to know about current affairs/talk radio.

Charon // Posted 24 May 2011 at 9:00 am

Why doesn’t this surpise me? I’m seriously waiting for a female voice in the morning. Has anyone else noticed that women don’t hit the airwaves between about 7-10am in the UK? I have a mate who has just started the grave yard slot on Sunday afternoon on Cheshire FM. Really hoping she gets the breaks she deservers. Lucy Lowe @

evieS // Posted 24 May 2011 at 2:19 pm

Agreed, Charon, Janis and Feminist Avatar. Our voices are silenced. Our experiences discounted. The language of patriarchy condemning us to this dislocation.

Unfortunately it’s not in the least bit surprising – and I assumed that it was this raw deal that women continue to suffer that was one of the main reasons for the existence of this blog.

Radio, television, writing, art, music… women are marginalised by the male-dominated mainstream. Women are still employed mainly for their decorative value – not expected to contribute anything of any weight or cultural significance. They are shuffled off to the dark fringes when they show signs of ageing. They are attacked in the mainstream press if they dare to display their cellulite or gain weight. They are told that they are not natural comedians.They are ‘eye candy’ – young pretty women adorning the arms of older male colleagues. Their art is castigated as meaningless talentless rubbish (witness the recent male criticism of Tracey Emin). Their music is valued for the flesh their videos reveal. Personally I tend towards Radio 4 – they have a few good women making good programmes. But maybe I’m just showing my age… Good luck to your friend, Charon.

Ray Filar // Posted 24 May 2011 at 8:44 pm

Unsurprising, but still just as shocking.

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