Last week heard Ray Darcy stumbling over what to call a newborn while he attempted to talk about attitudes to breastfeeding. It’s admirable that the former Rose of Tralee host chose to use his radio platform to promote tolerance of breast feeding women.
However, his partner and on air sidekick, the fabulous Jenny Kelly, gave birth to their first child a few years ago.
She took part in a HSE campaign to promote breastfeeding a few years back. Yet now she sat silent in the studio while Ray spoke, presumably, for her and other breastfeeding women.
Then comes the announcement that John Murray will be taking the Tubridy slot on RTE Radio1. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that Ryan Tubridy spoke for women or even had empathy with women. However, since Marian Finucane’s long running reign over the slot, and considering the general demographic of listeners at that time of the morning (majority of whom are women, though more men are doing some childcare), it seems sensible to appeal to women at that time.
It seems radio bosses ( the head of Radio 1 is a woman), are content to let the men do the talking to us and for us.
John Murray is an excellent broadcaster, a thoroughly decent person and a smart man. He isn’t a woman.
While we don’t have a woman, or two women, hosting a show we are missing out on proper debates across a range of subjects, not just those that are traditionally viewed as “women’s issues”. We are missing the point of view of Irish women on all the most important elements of our society, from politics and policies to communication and relationships.
While men dominate the airwaves of our national stations we are silently dampening the future of any women who might have made good broadcasters. We are keeping half our population cowed and quiet by exhibiting the theory that only men can have true gravitas or knowledge to host a radio show. It is only the topics that men find interesting that are the important ones. It follows then, that it is only men’s opinions which carry true weight.
Why do our female heads of radio continue to propagate this myth?