Radio: Where are the women?

Male voices dominate the nation's airwaves, a new study has found.

Campaigning group Sound Women today revealed that listeners are 10 times more likely to hear a man on the radio, as only 20% of solo voices aired on radio is female.

The likelihood of hearing a woman speak is reduced even further when the show in question has multiple hosts, such as BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Maria Williams, Sound Women's founder, said: "Having women’s voices on-air is hugely important, both to female radio audiences and to aspiring female presenters. We hear anecdotal evidence that radio stations receive fewer demos from female presenters.

Above: Annie Nightingale joined the BBC as its first female radio presenter in 1970

"By drawing attention to these statistics we hope that more women will come forward, and that the industry will look for opportunities to showcase their talent. Both will give female audiences a much stronger voice."

During their research, which was undertaken with industry body Creative Skillset, Sound also asked 20 high-profile female radio broadcasters if they had ever been asked to co-present with another woman.

None of those questioned, including Jo Whiley, Annie Nightingale, Clare Balding and Margherita Taylor, had been given that option.


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