ADVANCING WOMEN'S VOICES IN PUBLIC LIFE

One of the things I enjoy most about appearing on an all-female SKY news panel is I get to put other women forward for the role.

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The success rate has been pretty good and Derryn Hinch is certainly very open to suggestions for both engaging guests and panelists.

It recently dawned on me that we have never had a young female voice as a panelist.

There’s definitely a deficit of intelligent 20-something females being celebrated for their sharp minds across Australia’s media landscape.

So I put forward one of most dynamic young women I’ve had the pleasure of working with and she is set to appear.

I know she’ll bring a fantastic perspective and I’m thrilled.

Thing is, we need more female voices to be heard across media platforms.

Why?

Because young women can’t be what they can’t see. And because gender inequality is linked to violence.

Annabel Crabb is one of few women who have their say on the ABC's <i>Q&A</i>.

Annabel Crabb is one of few women who have their say on the ABC’s Q&A.

Shows like ABC’s Q&A reportedly struggle to find enough female voices. This is despite the majority of Australian university graduates being female. Apparently, the female guests are asked fewer questions and permitted far less time to speak.

Most voices in Parliament are male.

“According to the OpEd Project, women comprise between 10 and 16 percent of oped writers, TV pundits, Wikipedia contributors and Hollywood producers,” writes Julia Baird in this piece for Sydney Morning Herald.

Researchers from the University of Bristol and Cardiff Uni looked at more than 2 million articles over six months from more than 950 global news outlets.

Sydney Morning Herald reports,  “for virtually all topics and news outlets; women were more likely to be represented visually than they were mentioned as a news actor or source.” (A British study published in 2012 found while women appeared in just a third of the images on front pages, and when they did, it was more likely to be for a new hat rather than, say, a new thought.)

They also found “an overall probability of 77.0 per cent that an entity mentioned in the text is male, or 69.6 per cent that a face image is male”.

Really?

At least one of my talented fellow SKY panelists is genuinely put off by the attacks we sometimes attract on social media.

Ugly trolls are armed with venom waiting for the slightest slip up, this week I was remonstrated  for “giggling” … to laugh in this way is apparently too girlie. They expect me to behave more like a bloke.

How do I deal with it? I brush the criticism off.

Many bright, engaging women seem to dismiss the idea of air-time unless they believe they have an unshakeable knowledge on a topic.

Guess what? Not many people do and rapid advancements mean current knowledge is regularly surpassed. It’s about presenting ‘your case’ or ‘your ideas’ or sharing ‘your why’ with the world.

I’ll continue to write on this topic.

 

About Martine Harte

Martine Harte is founder of Engaging Women, a platform for social good.
She is a dedicated voice in the advancement of women & girls. Contact info@engagingwomen.com.au to learn how you could be featured.

Learn more about her here and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

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