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Dublin: 12 °C Monday 23 September, 2019
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"Too often, women in media see a ‘Keep Out’ sign on the door of every serious discussion"

Minister Pat Rabbitte made the comment while speaking at the inaugural Women on Air conference at Dublin Castle.

Image: Microphone via Shutterstock

DUBLIN CASTLE WAS abuzz today with talk about gender, women’s voices and the Irish airwaves, as the Women on Air conference got underway.

The conference was the first such event organised by the Women on Air group, and attracted a large and varied audience, as well as a host of guest speakers – many of whom tweeted their way through the event.

For those who weren’t there, the hashtag #womenonair meant they could keep up to date with the proceedings in real-time.

Among those impressed by the work Women on Air does was Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte, who was invited to open the event.

Rabbitte said in his speech that “too often, women in media see a ‘Keep Out’ sign on the door of every serious discussion”.

Research from the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) tells us that, while women have considerably outnumbered men in university-level and practice-based journalism programmes and that the employment of women in media is increasing, the organisational culture of media remains largely masculine and women are still significantly under-represented at the decision-making level.

Gender equality

He said that to achieve gender equality in the media, we “need more women in decision-making roles in media organisations, in broadcasting and in presenting roles”.

He concluded his speech by invoking the spirit of Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, saying: “I would echo some of her wisest words here. Keep your hands up and ask that question. Sit at the table in the meeting. Make sure that your voice is heard.”

Also speaking at the event was Maggie O’Kane, multimedia investigations editor at The Guardian, journalist Sam Smyth, and Ursula Halligan.

Here were some of the issues brought up at today’s event:

Female George Hook?

Threats towards journalists

Marriage and work

Waiting to be asked?

Preferring men’s voices?

Mentors

Read: Dara Ó Briain battles Twitter criticism following comments about female comedians>#

Read: Are women the ‘untapped answer’ to Ireland’s IT skills shortage?>

Read: ‘No limitations’: Ireland’s top women scientists gather to showcase their work>

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