By Victoria Gudgeon, PR and Social Media Assistant, Radical Moves
Earlier in the year, Helen Weedon, Managing Director, Radical Moves, discussed the all-important topic of gender diversity in the broadcast industry with Jenny Priestley, Editor, TVBEurope, Alexia El Merhebi, Digital Communications and Events Executive, Calrec and Bleuenn Le Goffic, VP Strategy and Business Development, Accedo. Having recently joined the industry myself, it was interesting to listen to the discussion and to understand both the challenges for women in this industry, but also the positive changes being made by companies, industry associations, and individuals.
An ever-changing broadcast industry
Both media and technology are renowned for being fast-paced industries which are forever evolving and improving. But while innovative products and solutions are continually being released, other areas have been slow to develop. In the past it has been hard for woman to make an impact and for their voices to be heard in a heavily male dominated environment.
Fortunately, businesses are starting to take steps to improve this, by supporting women already in the industry and making sure newcomers are aware of the career opportunities available to them. Thankfully in most recent years, more women are being elevated and given the recognition they deserve, and companies are becoming more aware of the challenges faced by women.
Inspiring the younger generation
One of the big questions is, how do we encourage the younger generation to pursue a career in the broadcast, technology, and media industries if it’s not being talked about? Alexia explained how the RISE Up Academy, has started talks in schools and colleges to show children and young adults that there are many different routes which can be taken, and that a career doesn’t have to follow a stereotypical path.
This approach reveals new options and helps young people explore career opportunities they might not have previously considered. Jenny added that the industry should educate not only children and young adults but also teachers, careers advisors, and the public. Overall there is a lack of content production knowledge, and young people often don’t know how their favourite media reaches a channel or streaming platform. If the industry can become more vocal at a grassroots level, then more young people will take an interest. Helen went on to explain that many people are surprised by the fact that there is a marketing and PR company based in a little town in West Wales. Even more so that it focuses on such a niche and interesting industry.
Gender diversity in the broadcast industry
When it comes to the broadcast sector, although improvements are being made there is clear gender disparity, and the industry is still very much dominated by men. Jenny shared her experience of how she would very often be the only female journalist in the room at events. Companies need to prioritise inclusivity and key industry figures should highlight the actions that can be taken to improve the gender equality. Bleuenn explained that Accedo focuses on its staff being happy and heard all the time. This approach has helped with bridging the gender diversity gap as everyone feels they have a voice.
When Accedo spoke to employees and analysed wellbeing, it became clear that unfortunately not everyone received equal airtime and that there was indeed an imbalance. This led to finding solutions and addressing the issues and concerns. Employees are any company’s biggest stakeholder and if they are happy, staff will engage and perform better which benefits the organisation as a whole. For a company like Accedo, with a global footprint, each country and department is different and therefore faces a range of challenges unique to specific circumstances, this can make the gender diversity issue a difficult and sensitive subject. By everyone having an equal chance to voice their opinions, teams can overcome these challenges by taking a more collaborative approach.
Helping to support the future of woman in broadcast
RISE is an award-winning global advocacy membership organisation, supporting gender diversity across the media technology sector. Alexia was mentored by Helen in 2021 through a RISE initiative. She explained that RISE offers many opportunities to connect with people in the industry, to ask questions, and the mentorship scheme supports growth and development. Alexia explained that since completing the program, she has made lifelong connections and RISE has helped her to participate in events and meet new people.
Industry networking that targets women specifically, helps to build new opportunities, broaden skill sets and improve career prospects. Jenny highlighted that any woman in the industry should feel confident when voicing an opinion and be as forthright as male colleagues. Helen agreed, adding that it’s important to never be afraid to speak up and to ask questions.
In the coming years, it will be crucial for the broadcast industry to embrace change, get the word out and encourage young girls and woman to consider the industry when choosing a career path or a change in direction. As a newcomer to the industry, I had never considered broadcast sector as a career option, due to lack of information. I have been lucky enough to find and become part of the team at Radical Moves and I am excited to see what the future holds for women in broadcast.
I’m personally excited to be embarking on my journey in this industry. As things evolve over the next few years, we hope to see more women joining and getting more out of the industry. For more insights on gender diversity in the broadcast industry, listen to the podcast here.