Labour Bill Seeks to Ensure More Female Artists and Voices on Radio

Labour Bill Seeks to Ensure More Female Artists and Voices on Radio

Bill is being submitted with the Why Not Her? group with the aim of promoting gender parity on Irish radio.

This Thursday 7 July, the Labour Party and the Why Not Her? campaign will submit an amended Broadcasting Bill aiming to ‘retune Irish radio’ with regards to gender parity and diversity. Why Not Her? – the campaign that has been publishing research on the issue of gender diversity in Irish radio since 2020 – will meet with Senator Marie Sherlock of the Labour Party who is putting forward the bill. 

Why Not Her? are calling on all TDs, Senators, Ministers and politicians to join in a cross-party initiative to support the new legislation. The group also invites those in the music industry and members of the public to join them at Leinster House on Thursday at 1pm to show support for the cause. 

Why Not Her? was founded by Linda Coogan Byrne in 2020 with the launch of the first report on gender disparity in Irish radio. The report surveyed 27 Irish national, regional and local radio stations between June 2019 and June 2020 and showed that female artists totalled just 7.7% of the top 20 most played songs by Irish acts.

The campaign has since published reports based on UK radio also, and more research into Irish radio, with the most recent report published this week. The latest report shows that over ten radio stations have implemented changes to increase the number of female musicians in their playlists, and five stations have reached 50% gender parity: Spin 103.8, Spin South West, MidWest Radio, RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta.

Commenting on the campaign, Senator Sherlock said:

For the past three years, Why Not Her? has been holding up a mirror to broadcasters in Ireland on the disproportionate and low number of women’s voices on our airwaves. … We need to ensure there is a level playing field. We know that we have some brilliant emerging talent here in Ireland with Soulé, Tolü Makay, Cherry Dragon, Gemma Bradley and Denise Chaila and established talent such as Imelda May, and yet Why Not Her?’s report reflects the disadvantage they are at relative to male artists.

Coogan Byrne said: 

There is a diverse multicultural vibrancy that is at an all-time high, this needs to be reflected in the radio stations in Ireland. It is my continued hope that these data reports can continue to set the precipice for a lot of change to come. Change can happen at a quick rate… when an unconscious bias is stripped back and when the effort is applied…

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Published on 5 July 2022

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