Where are the women in radio?

Emma Nobel has produced Where are the Women?
Emma Nobel has produced Where are the Women?

Monash journalism Honours graduate Emma Nobel has produced an intriguing radio documentary, Where are the Women?, which was aired on Sydney-based FBi Radio’s All The Best on Saturday, March 7.

Emma’s practice-based project was submitted with an accompanying exegesis. All The Best is an influential radio documentary program in Australia starting careers of a new generation of audio producers now at ABC Radio National and independent media projects.

Click here to listen to Where are the Women?

Emma’s Honours supervisor, MFJ Head of School Associate Professor Mia Lindgren, said the radio documentary examined why there were so few female radio presenters on Melbourne radio.

“Emma interviewed leading radio broadcasters Jon Faine and Neil Mitchell about the lack of female radio voices,” Associate Professor Lindgren said.

Emma is keen for the dialogue about the lack of female radio voices to continue.

“Why don’t we hear more women on the radio? It’s a debate that’s been raging in Australia since the medium was introduced to our shores, but comparatively little academic research about the topic exists,” Emma said.

“The radio industry has neglected to pay close attention to the lack of women on air. As someone who wants to work in radio, I do wonder why there are so few female broadcasters in Australia and whether being female will be an obstacle in my own career.”

All the Best: Where are the Women?

Emma said many of the interviews suggested those in the industry felt that individual, rather than systematic, factors were seen to negatively impact women’s careers.

“Men dominated in all on-air positions across all stations in all timeslots every day of the week, though the findings may have been different had I been following this project during summer,” Emma said.

“ABC 774 often has women ‘fill in’ for their male colleagues while they are on holiday. Women were seen to be over-represented in ‘supporting’ production roles.”

Emma said her interviews with broadcasters across commercial, public and community radio, gave her a unique view of the industry.

“It was an eye-opening experience that allowed me an insight into the industry I want to work in, as well as unparalleled access to the broadcasters themselves,” she said.

“You bet I asked about getting a foot in the door! I was thrilled that All The Best included the documentary as part of their International Women’s Day special.”