Sexism, Diversity, and the Future of Media: Jane Garvey tells all

By Harriet Morphy-Morris and Sarah Almond

Jane Garvey, best known for her work on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and Radio 5 Live, returned to Liverpool as an Honorary fellow of John Moore’s University. She spoke with  Journalism students from JMU Journalism in a round table discussion.

The podcast talks about diversity in the BBC, obstacles women have faced in the media, and the LGBT community. Jane also discusses her hopes for the future of women not only in the media but in all industries.

Treatment of Women in the Media and the Gender Pay Gap:

Over the 30 years that Ms Garvey worked in the media, her early days as a reporter still saw days of exploitation. She touched on how she was told to dress in far-too-tight clothing in order to engage more viewers, and was made to feel like she could not put her head above the parapet and state that what she was being made to do was not right.

Today's statistics
Source: Women in Media conference

Despite numbers of women journalists being higher than that of men, only a small minority of higher roles are taken by women.

According to  statistics from the Women In Media Conference, data shows that there is inequality in the work place such as the gender pay gap as seen on the right.

But the differences in pay isn’t the only problem. We asked Jane about the position of  controversial figures in the media, and how views of seeing women in that light are far more negative than that of their male counterparts, and if we will see a shift for more balance in the near future.

The Woman’s Hour presenter said: “I’m not sure we’re anywhere close to solving that one. It’s really difficult for a man to get a reputation for being temperamental, or a diva. Whereas it’s extremely easy for a woman in the media to get exactly that reputation.

I know for a fact there are many many temperamental, difficult to work with men in the British media who are tolerated.”

Regional Diversity:

Predominately London has been the central hub of all media, but after debates over a lack of regional diversity, there have been steps forward to branch out of the capital into other major cities across the UK.

Just recently, in October 2018, Channel 4 announced their decision to relocate their national headquarters to Leeds. In a bid to ‘boost the way they reflect life outside of the capital’. Other media companies such as BBC and ITV  also branched out of London, to increase the wider cities business opportunities.

Saying this, the UK’s media is still very much reflective of London and does not reflect an equal mixture of cities and cultures in the UK. Originally from Liverpool but having lived in London for most of her professional life, Jane Garvey spoke of the major influences that London has had on her reporting career, from the way that she speaks to the way that she approaches certain topics.

Speaking to Mersey Mash reporters during the podcast, Ms Garvey said: “The longer you spend in London, the longer you start to think like everyone form there. Liverpool is not a place that’s alien to me but I do work with a lot of people at the BBC in London who have never been to Liverpool. They have been everywhere in Europe and to big parts of the World but they don’t know their own country.

“It is good that the BBC have such a big presence in Salford, but there is still disconnect and it is still really important to focus on moving media outside of London.”

Alongside the need to branch out of London and widen the Media regional pattern, Ms Garvey also spoke of the crucial need in changing the way our media appears to the outside world. She said: “There is still a long way to go. BBC Radio 4 still has very few presenters who are non white and until very recently we didn’t have very many non white contributors to discussions and programmes.

“It is beginning to change, but its not changing quick enough, and I still think its a place that still feels alien, even to groups of young people who live in the North of England never mind to people who might live in underprivileged parts of Britain.”

RISE Liverpool and the City’s fight for Women:

Jane Garvey highlighted the key issues women in the media industry have to overcome, often putting them at an unfair disadvantaged compared to their male counterparts. Sharing the same goal of celebrating equality is RISE. Based throughout the city centre of Liverpool, RISE celebrates and promotes inspirational women. Providing a platform to share and create young emerging talent. In collaboration with Liverpool City Council and Arts Council England, the project invites awareness and the empowerment of women throughout Merseyside.

The project is a season of exhibitions and events aimed at telling the stories of women and all their power. Featuring women from Liverpool, the UK and from all around the world, RISE highlights the inspirational and empowering stories of women across all industries.

Watch RISE’s video below: Sharing their work on Twitter

The Open-Eye Gallery are one of many organisations in Liverpool who showcase work produced by Rise. The aim of their recent exhibition, 209 Women, features women from the houses of parliament, all the photos featured have been taken by female photographers. Director of marketing and communications at the gallery, Jacob Bolton, told Mersey Mash that RISE exhibitions are helping to spread awareness and to break through the stereotype of women.


Watch Below: Our full podcast with Jane Garvey



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