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Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland
Women On Air

Áine Lawlor: 'It's not just a lack of women, we need more diversity in Irish media'

The RTÉ broadcaster said that news and current affairs in particular is an area that must change.

Updated 12.11pm

IRISH MEDIA NEEDS a more diverse range of personalities, RTÉ’s Áine Lawlor has said.

She was speaking in the wake of renewed criticism of Irish radio stations for a lack of female voices on air.

Lawlor was one of four broadcasters inducted into the PPI’s Radio Hall of Fame yesterday.

Speaking to reporters after the ceremony, she said:

“It’s not just in terms of women. There needs to be much more diversity in Irish media, in particular the people who are giving us our news and current affairs.

The country is changing, and I think broadcasting has to change with it.

She added that she would “obviously like to see more women on air”.

“The women that I listen to, and the women that I work with, they are peerless… in many ways they set the standard for me everyday.”

This was echoed by Today FM’s Tony Fenton, who said there should be more woman on air:

We welcome it, we really do.

He defended his station following recent criticism noting that, along with presenters such as Alison Curtis and Louise Duffy, most news anchor at the the station are women.

Writing this week in The Irish Times, journalist Una Mullaly branded the ‘gender imbalance’ at Communicorp stations Today FM and Newstalk as “pathetic”. She previously criticised the PPI Radio Awards for the majority of their nominees being male.

In a letter this morning in the same paper, Chief Executive of Today FM Peter McPartlin said that his station “has always provided equal opportunities to new and experienced broadcasters, on the basis of merit and ability”.

“The most recent programming recruits in Today FM have been primarily female,” McPartlin wrote.

This is alongside frontline female presenters who have been here for many years and a full female line-up of news anchors.

He said that while Mullaly was correct in pointing out that the majority of the station’s output consists of male voices, this “is not ‘sexist bias’ at play”:

Ms Mullally would do well to look at her own newspaper before commenting erroneously on the radio sector. A simple analysis of 65 bylined articles in Monday’s edition of your newspaper shows that just 13 were by women.

Originally published 7.15am

Read: And the four newest members of Irish radio’s Hall of Fame are… >

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