Media Gender Audit, Anyone?


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Directors of elections for Labour Alan Kelly, for Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes, Fianna Fáil TD Billy Kelleher and Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carty, with RTÉ’s Sharon Ní Bheoláin this morning

Magdalene Hayden, assistant to Senator Katherine Zappone, writes:

The gender disparity in media is glaringly obvious, particularly when you examine the media coverage provided to female politicians on currents affairs programming in Ireland, according to Independent general election candidate for Dublin South West Katherine Zappone. For example, in recent weeks there were no female politicians participating in some of Ireland’s flagship political programmes.

During her recent feminism conference in Tallaght, attended by over 300 people, women from all walks of life shared their experiences and a common thread between them all was a sense of frustration at the imbalance of gender representation in Irish media.

Journalist, broadcaster, and activist Una Mullally made an impassioned call for media organisations to tackle the massive gender disparity endemic in our news and media organisations. She believes that a gender audit is the only realistic way to tackle the lack of representation of women in the media, while also examining the lack of women in positions of power in the industry itself.

Zappone echoes the sentiments of Mullally as someone who has been collaborating with and educating women, helping them achieve their potential for over 30 years. Having helped sow the seeds of many local women’s journeys into higher education via An Cosán, the Jobstown-based education centre, Zappone believes the time for an Independent voice with a passion for equality is now. Katherine champions equal opportunities for women in the workplace, education, health services and public life.


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59 thoughts on “Media Gender Audit, Anyone?

  1. Clampers Outside!

    “The gender disparity in media is glaringly obvious, particularly when you examine the media coverage provided to female politicians on currents affairs programming in Ireland”

    Gender disparity in the number of female politicians who get coverage…. nothing to do with the fact there are more male politicians then. I hope they are not suggesting that the fewer women should get as much exposure as the entirety of the men, that would be a bias, wouldn’t it.

    So, there’ll be an incorrect assumed bias in favour of men until there are as many women in politics as there are men.


      1. Clampers Outside!

        You tell me Dón, I really don’t know what the issue is.

        Are TV and radio stations supposed to give extra airtime to the fewer women, who will therefore get more exposure individually which would be a bias itself, in order to achieve an overall gender balance on air?

        This would result in individuals getting increased exposure, just because they are women. Why is that OK? …or, is there something I’m missing. I’d be happily put in me box if I’m reading this incorrectly.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          Showing young women that they can aspire to be respected politicians is more important than Mattie McGrath getting his fair share of air time.

          1. ReproBertie

            Current affairs programmes are supposed to report on, investigate and discuss current affairs, not act as a career showcase.

            True gender equality would mean filling the chairs on Prime TIme (which, as an aside, Ruth Coppinger was on last night) with the politicians most qualified to discuss a topic, irrespective of gender. There’s nothing to be gained by sticking a party’s defence spokesman on instead of their social affairs spokeswoman just because there are already 3 women on the panel.

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            As a matter of interest, are you against the idea of affirmative action in the states?

          3. ReproBertie

            Before I answer that I just have to take a call from Admiral Akbar.

            Why do you want to drag this off on a tangent? Can we not stick with the topic at hand?

            I’m not interested in every politician getting their fair share of air time (and let’s not forget that some politicians make themselves more available than others). I’m interested in hearing from people who have an understanding of the issue being discussed. If that means ditching a party spokesperson and bringing on the local TD to discuss an issue in their constituency then that’s what should be done, again, irrespective of their gender.

          4. MoyestWithExcitement

            It’s not a tangent, it’s an analogy. Say if every company decided ‘Well, it’s not my responsibility to help oppressed black people. I’m just interested in the best person for the job. Let someone else deal with that.’, the progression of black people in a white society mightn’t have gotten as far as it has. Similarly up north with the RUC taking on 33% Catholics. Protestants could have and did complain about that. But what was more important? 40% of the country feeling like their police represents them or some Protestants getting a job in the police? Someone needs to take responsibility for helping to diminish the patriarchy and the media should be front and centre putting their hands up to help seeing as how much they influence all of us.

          5. Jonsmoke

            Your analogies are wrong. A company/organization should not refuse access to a job or a benefit because of a person’s colour, religion, or gender but they should not give access to a job or a benefit because of the person’s colour, religion, or gender. It should be based on their ability, qualifications etc..

          6. MoyestWithExcitement

            You seem to have totally misunderstood what I’m talking about. Affirmative action means people have to take someone on because of their race (AND qualifications). The argument against AA is that the best person for the job should get it and it would be unfair on a white person to lose out on a job to a less qualified black person. That’s basically the same argument against women getting any sort of helping hand from the media or legislators or whatever.

        2. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

          You are misreading it a bit Clamps and fixated on this politician thing.

          Yes, there are fewer women politicians. As it says above, this isn’t about just putting women in the TV, it’s says more about the access of women to positions of power. The Senator and others are using appearances on TV as an indication of that.

          Now, gender and the media, I don’t know about in Ireland. But I assume Ireland is like most places and doesn’t have equality in this respect and certainly doesn’t in how women working in media are treated.

          1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

            And I bet the last vagina you touched was when you were born and yet here you are talking about women.

            Go figure Tones

          2. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

            Ah, Tony, don’t get sore. You can always continue our conversation over in the other thread :)

          3. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

            I’m embarrassed for you. It’s like a joke Ricky Gervais would make an award show while grinning at the camera looking for validation.

          4. Tony

            Nah, Ricky would have said something much funnier. Probably would have gone the disability route, or race. But thanks.

          5. Tony

            He is at his funniest when he is taking the micky out of vindictive dogooders, liberal safe spacers and unstoppable forces of competitive compassion. Which probably sucks for you. :-(((

          6. MoyestWithExcitement

            He’s still a sanctimonious gobsheen even then. I remember he posted the photo of a hunter who got mauled to death and laughed about it. I bet that was of great comfort to his wife and children; seeing some attention whore lead a band of clueless bandwagon jumpers in celebrating the death of someone’s husband and father. Did you ever see his interview on Piers Morgan on CNN? It was surreal. He’s basically David Brent.

          7. Fergus the magic postman

            @Moyest: I didn’t see that.
            I actively avoid watching anything with Pierce Morgan, only breaking that to watch him interview John Lydon, because I was intrigued enough to wonder what the fupp John Lydon was doing on a Pierce Morgan show.
            The butter advert I forgave him for, but Pierce fupping Morgan? That left a taste & it’s still there. Ew. *spits*

  2. Ruth

    Zappone? The same Zappone who’s supporting Joan Burton in her law suit against the people of Jobstown. Zappone’s a piece of %%%%

  3. Tony

    After years of shrieking and Women on Air and blogs and bitching, nothing seems to have changed. I hope the feminists are rethinking their strategies to achieve equalidee and change and waking and consent and deepening the conversation. Because the current methods of persuasion aren’t working- (despite the Tallaght moanfest).Honestly, does anyone give a fupp except the Irish Times and the unhappy atheists on here.

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      Nope. Nobody. All the feelings you have in your head are actually objective reality and the rest of us are just following your lead.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          I did, yeah. It’s just some shut in trying to talk down to imaginary people in his head because real people probably point and laugh at the chap.

    2. Fergus the magic postman

      @Tony: I’m not sure from your post, if you are pro women in politics, or against it, or you just don’t care or what.

      In any case, it is the second time today that I’ve seen the term “Shrieking” being used on here. BS user Mayor Quimby accused Anne Marie McNally (a woman) of shrieking as well.

      1. Tony

        I noticed that earlier too, probably in a Derren Brown/Dynamo way it made me use it too.. Spooky. But yet accurate all the same. Ok Sherlock?

      2. Tony

        And for clarity, I am pro women in everything. just not banging on about it forever and turning people off. Women are free to stand in election, women are free to go on media, women are free to do most things. maybe if some of them spent some time talking about anything other than equalidee and their victimhood, more producers/editors would call them. That shelf is well stocked.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Very true. A brilliantly accurate parody of an emasculated and emotionally volatile social reject. Well done.

    3. Nigel

      Hey, feminists, there’s a guy on here, and he’s insulting and dismissive and sneery, but I think he might have some good advice on how to do feminism, he appears to be some kind of expert! Stop everything and do what he says!

  4. ahjayzis

    How is RTE to police the gender of a panel of Directors of Election when they have no role in selecting the parties Directors of Election? Poor picture choice maybe.

    If the Dail is 16% female what are we sacrificing in terms of representation by having 50% of media appearances from 16% of the parliament?

    Gender balance in the parliament itself is the precursor to this stuff, I support the quotas for electoral funding – but gerrymandering which politicians get to speak on media based on gender just papers over the cracks by making the Dail *appear* balanced and disadvantages people.

  5. Frilly Keane

    What’s Joan’s % of airtime versus the other party leaders?


    BTW don’t agree with Gender Quotas

    1. Clampers Outside!

      Fair question Frilly.

      If Hayden’s piece were followed up on we’d have Joan on the tele 7 times more often than any other party leaders… and that would be balance, apparently.

      Either that or the piece is badly written and meant to mean something else.

  6. ollie

    How dare Senator Katherine Zappone employ Magdalene Hayden as her assistant?
    Seriously, using a person who’s qualified for the job when she could be hiring her mother, sister, cousin, partner without interview.
    I’m disgusted. She brings politics in Ireland to a new level.

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