#WFImediawatch - Week Three

#WFImediawatch - Week Three

In this week's #WFImediawatch, Gillian Martin and Kirsty Strickland hand out the gold stars - and the wooden spoons - to TV and radio shows for their representation (or lack thereof) of women in their political commentary. 

It's Week Three of #WFImediawatch!

For the first time we looked at Radio Scotland's Newsdrive Show. Our new media recruits Cathy and Laura took the reins on this. Over a period of one week they calculated that only 21% of their interviewees and commentators were women. Faring slightly better, Good Morning Scotland, monitored by Cathy, Laura and Stephanie came up with 32% of the interviews and commentators being female.

Still on radio, we should also turn the light beam on ourselves. Take Friday on Radio Scotland's Morning Call, this week hosted by Gary Robertson. Gary took calls from nine men before having to ask female listeners to please get in touch. Minutes after doing so he read out a complaint from a woman listener complaining that she was only hearing male voices. Gary had to say that any woman who phoned would go on air, and that they had none so far. Eventually women phoned in. We say, stop shouting at the radio and get on the phone and join in. We can't leave it up to others to represent us. Besides, phoning in these type of shows is actually quite good fun. No, really, it is.

Over on television we had  a slightly similar situation. After the BBC Ask Nicola debate which had an audience which was far from gender balanced, with 5 women and 9 men, the audience stayed on to be part of Scotland 2015. Sarah Smith made a point of asking the women who were there to speak, as they weren't as forth coming with putting their hands up. Women, it's time to speak up more. We urge you to start at public meeting level. Too often the hands going up are only those that belong to the men. And we know this isn't the case at Women for Indy meetings where we are all fighting for the floor. Women only spaces are clearly more comfortable for us, but we need to make space for ourselves at all forums.

Scotland 2015 also gets a nod this week for near perfect gender balance.  9 female commentators to 10 male.

This week's Gold Star, however, goes to a previous recipient of our Wooden Spoon. It's STV's Scotland Tonight which this week had two female commentators new to the Scotnight couch, Daily Record's Anna Burnside and the Guardian's Libby Brooks. Their gender balance this week was spot on as well, at 50:50. As we mentioned last week, we've had dialogue with the producers of the programme and their efforts have not gone unnoticed by the #WFImediawatch team. Excellent stuff. Keep it up!

We'd also like to give an honourable mention to SNP MP Humza Yousaf who appeared on Radio 1's Newsbeat debate and used the opportunity to open the debate up to equal pay. This is what he said:

''There is an issue here that nobody is talking about, and one that if we have a big group of SNP MP's we have to tackle - and that's the fact that still in the 21st century we have women who do the same job as men and are still paid less."

 If we have a group of SNP MPs I make the commitment and the promise that we will urge the UK govt to take action on the equal pay act because not only is it unacceptable it is completely medieval.'' 

The Newsbeat debate had one female out of five politicians taking part which was Labour's Jenny Marra.

We note that former WFI exec and campaigner Carol Fox has still not had any answer from Jim Murphy to the issue of equal pay in Labour run councils. We also notice that this issue has not been brought up in any of the leaders interviews over the election, so well done to Humza for putting it in the spotlight. It should also be mentioned that he got a huge cheer from the young audience when he did. We live in hope that over this week a broadcast journalist may ask our politicians questions on this issue which is largely being left out of the debate.

So that's MediaWatch for this week. We'll be taking a break over the next week as the General Election will kind of steal everyone's thunder, but we’ll be back with a vengeance the week after. Also we'd like to listen to some music and watch some Game of Thrones for a change, if that's OK. We'll see you in the new political landscape the week after the election. Meantime, we need your help. We need a team of Media Watchers. Even if you only watch or listen to one show for us and report your findings. Get in touch via info@womenforindependence.org.uk  and mark your email WFI Media Watch.

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  • Collette Stevenson
    commented 2015-05-17 17:46:46 +0100
    I noted on this morning Sunday Politics Show 15 May three men on the panel discussing Scottish politics and the plight of Scottish Labour. I have no doubt these three men were very informed on the subject however no gender balance here. I am currently a member of Unite and and the only female workplace rep for the whole of South Lanarkshire Council and having to attend meetings as the only female which can be disheartening and somewhat soul destroying however it in no way puts me off my aim to get more equality and better working conditions in the workplace, especially the public sector given the budgetary cut backs. The union forms the basis of an old boys club and despite asking significant questions in relation to canvassing members, information and union funds for setting up events I have always been met with a brick wall. Since being a newbie I thought I was maybe overstepping the mark but not to be put down easily I have put my name forward for more training and also enlisted on their Women’s National Week to further educate me. Since having put my head above the parapet, I find I am under more intense scrutiny from my all male managers and at risk of my post being diminished albeit very subtly. Sorry this is a slight digression from the media watch but if we cannot infiltrate gender balance at local level then women will have a constant battle on their hands. I for one will continue to fight for women’s rights in the workplace even if it means doing it in baby steps on a one woman band.
  • StirlingWFI
    commented 2015-05-04 14:16:41 +0100
    Interesting developments in. media watch