There's still some way to go to achieving parity in the UK's radio sector, according to a new study that sheds light on the various obstacles women face in the industry. In fact, almost 85% of participants felt that it was harder for women to progress their career in radio than for men.
This study , published by the organizations Radio Silence and Women In Ctrl, is based on interviews and surveys carried out among over 100 women working in the radio sector in the UK. Over 54% of them reported feeling less valued than male counterparts in the workplace, notably when it comes to securing promotions or getting their voices heard in work meetings. "Oftentimes, what I said would be ignored until a male repeated it, or when I made a statement, my boss would say 'good question' when it wasn't a question at all. My male counterparts' statements were never belittled like this," explains one of the women surveyed for the study.
Another alarming statistic is that seven in ten of the women polled felt that their physical appearance had had an effect on the job opportunities they had been offered in their career. Many also highlight the difficulties faced when it comes to being taken seriously in the workplace, notably due to their appearance or their age. A toxic climate that can favor sexist comments, according to the Women In Ctrl and Radio Silence report. Almost 61% of women surveyed said they had experienced inappropriate sexist comments in the workplace about their physical appearance, like their weight or their clothing, for example.
The impact of motherhood
A majority of the female radio professionals who took part in the research also agreed that having children has had or would have a negative impact on their career progression. "It's the biggest difference I have faced compared to my male colleagues. Coming back from maternity leave definitely puts you back at the bottom of the pack. I came back after winning awards and going to awards ceremonies during maternity leave and I was dumped in the corner, told I couldn't present and was left doing a job that was obviously below my abilities," one participant reports.
In light of the worrying findings of their research, the Radio Silence and Women in Ctrl organizations are calling on British radio stations to sign a pledge committing them, among other things, to "protecting the women in [their] workplace." It's about time!