If there’s one thing that I’ll take away from my time at FreshAir, it’s that student radio is a really exciting medium because of the potential for creativity and risk-taking. While I’d like to think that promoting women’s talents and representation is something that’s in everybody’s interests, decisions by the likes of the BBC to devote just two nights of broadcasting to women suggest otherwise; that’s why at FreshAir we’ve decided to make the most of our creative freedom by dedicating the whole of International Women’s Day on Saturday 8th March to the range of fantastic woman presenters we have at the station, and the brilliant musical women out there who don’t always get the airplay they deserve.
As highlighted by recent decisions to always include a woman in panel shows and to improve women’s representation on local breakfast shows, radio, and media more generally, is one of many industries dominated by men. More broadly, women in the UK are still being paid 23% less than men and make up just one third of the UK’s most influential jobs. As a woman and the Manager of FreshAir, I recognise the difficulties we face in authoritative positions, whether that’s people double-taking at the idea that tiny little me could manage a radio station, or the more subtle suggestions that women are ‘strict’ and ‘bossy’ when a man might be described as a strong manager. It’s clear that we still have a long way to go, and days like International Women’s Day are vitally important for bringing attention to the ongoing struggle for gender equality in all its forms.
That’s why, as well as our woman presenters and guests, we’ll also be opening our studio doors all day to any woman in the University or city who wants to find out more about the station or radio more generally, or wants to try her hand at presenting or producing. Any self-defining woman can come along to the studio between 10am-12am on Saturday 8th March – we’re located on the top floor of the Salisbury Block in the Pleasance Courtyard. I hope that women will enjoy the solidarity of the day and take the opportunity to gain experience and ask questions in a comfortable and empowering environment.
We have many more exciting things planned for the broadcast that will be announced in the coming days, but you can be assured that FreshAir’s roster of women will keep you more than entertained throughout the day with their diverse range of shows covering everything from entertainment to specialist music and debates. We’ll also be welcoming singers and bands in for live sessions as well as hosting guest presenters in our studio, including Jennie Cook from Capital’s Breakfast show, who will be presenting from 4-5pm.
Of course, one day of broadcasting is not going to change the world on its own, and talking about women’s representation in media in the privileged Western world doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the issues facing less fortunate women around the world - and in the UK - every day. But it’s our way of using the resources we have to celebrate the achievements of women and to highlight that our work isn’t done yet. If one woman hears something on our broadcast that inspires her, or walks into our studio to see what it’s like and leaves with a new-found confidence, I’ll be satisfied that our tiny gesture in an attic in Edinburgh has made our own little contribution to the diverse and important work done by International Women’s Day.