How To Deal With Sexism In The Workplace?
Watch seven women from across the radio industry (BBC Radio, Talk Radio, Global Radio, Women’s Hour) discuss their top tips for how to deal with sexism in the workplace and how to get equal pay for equal work. Panel held at Goldsmiths University for International Women’s Day.
Watch our Sexism In The Workplace Video on YouTube.
Another post in the Women In Radio series (thanks to Wired Radio’s International Women’s Day panel), this time the panelists discuss their experiences of sexism and discrimination in their working life.
Stop Being Patronising!
Here Jen Crowthers describes an example of discrimination she has experienced from her colleagues. As the founder of Boogaloo Radio in Highgate, Jen looks after a wealth of presenters, many of whom she feels need a reminder to not use patronising pet names for women let alone her as a boss!
“I would say 50% of my presenters are men probably like 65/70% of them are men over the age of 50 and I love them to death, they work really hard and they're talented men in the music industry but they use little phrases like sweetheart and darling and sugar and not in a way that I would use it like ‘oh darling’ … the way I overcome it is basically by looking them in the eye and go have you forgot my name or are we just being patronising today? Half of them just go sorry bad habit Jen and they are actually really embarrassed so I would say when it's above the line little things like that just call him out on it in the moment” - Jen Crothers - Founder of Boogaloo Radio
“Usually it is you as a young woman dealing with an older man and so he's the one with the authority and the power and the experience and so for him to then use a word which is usually used in an affectionate way is him basically demeaning you” - Jen Crothers - Founder of Boogaloo Radio
Inappropriate Sexual Comments
Emma Bradshaw, BBC One’s Social Media Editor describes a questionable comment made to her when organising an event for the Student Radio Association.
“I was organising an event and this was a few years back maybe like four or five years ago and I was working for the Student Radio Association. Maybe he thought I was still a student, and because it was an event I had a dress on. I was working with this guy he was the head of a company who was producing the event for us and he said to me ‘if you get your legs out like that more often than I'll give you a job!’ I ignored him and I've ignored him ever since like even if I come back into contact with him, I doubt he remembers making the comment but when I look back at myself when I was 22 and didn't say anything - I can't believe I didn't say anything because of the person I am now.” - Emma Bradshaw - Student Radio Association and Social Media Editor at BBC One
At the time of the panel, BBC staff had uncovered quite a significant gender pay gap between colleagues doing the same job role. At the company it was revealed that men earn 9.3% more than women. Talk Radio’s Yasmeen Khan discusses how she has experienced inequality in the workplace in terms of pay, being a woman of colour and ‘working class’.
“I think we've got look at the fact that today they were what three to four hundred women outside New Broadcasting House protesting about equal pay. There were radio presenters, there were producers, there were all sorts and we're talking from the bottom rung of the ladder right up to very senior people who are protesting that they're not getting paid the same as their male counterparts who are sitting next to them in some cases in front of the same microphone or in front of the same monitor and are getting paid 50% or less than you!” - Yasmeen Khan - Presenter at Talk Radio and BBC Three Counties Radio
Women Of Colour and Class
“The person of colour thing is still a huge issue but also they're not two separate things but class is also a massive issue. I won't name the person but only very recently and sadly it was a woman and I've been a presenter now for 14 years or something like that she said to me ‘oh you've done ever so well’ and I thought, what? There's a little bit missing at the end of that sentence ‘you've done ever so well little brown girl’ is that what you're trying to say? She was fishing and I thought what is it she's trying to ask me and I deciphered that what she wanted to know was which University I had gone to and I haven't been asked that in a long time! She might as well have said you do go to Oxford or Cambridge; so class is still a massive issue. Class and being of colour and being a woman I'm sorry there are still massive issues and I'm northern so you know forget it!” - Yasmeen Khan - Presenter at Talk Radio and BBC Three Counties Radio
Negotiating Your Salary
BBC One’s Emma Bradshaw goes on to discuss how salaries are not fixed at the BBC and suggests those looking to join the company negotiate their pay and their pay grade boundary.
“When I started at BBC iPlayer - each job is set at a grade and it's got pay boundaries for each grade and I started at the bottom of my grade. I didn't realise that you could negotiate that when you were offered your job. I think was more of a confidence issue that I didn't do that and I should have done it and I could have done it whereas I think what I found from talking to people is that a lot of [men] they had a lot more confidence and they manage to get that higher starting salary and that's something I'd encourage lots of women's look into.” - Emma Bradshaw - Student Radio Association and Social Media Editor at BBC One
It’s Ok To Be Emotional
Anna Harding, news editor at Global Radio’s Heart says it is ok to be a woman and to be emotional when reporting on upsetting news stories. As a journalist, you may feel that you are there to discuss the facts, but Anna says we’re all human and listener’s actually appreciate hearing how you feel.
“With news I think everyone is so much more grounded than the presentation side of things so presenters can be very egotistical, newsrooms have a very dry sense of humour and overcoming having to say horrendous things on-air like breaking terrible news to people you have to have a real kind of set of broad shoulders. I mean a lot of my difficulties have been, as a woman, holding in my emotions when I'm delivering horrendous news. I was in Manchester the day after the Manchester Arena bombing giving 15-minute updates… I think if you are looking at going into news, it's okay to be emotional and to show that as well to your listener. You're not a robot, you're not just reading words out.” - Anna Harding - Global News Editor - Heart FM
Thank you to all panelists for sharing their stories on the night.
Who is on the panel?
The Women In Radio panel was held at Goldsmiths University, London on International Women’s Day. The 7 Panelists include:
- Anna Harding - Global News Editor - Heart FM
- Olivia Cope - Assistant Producer - BBC Woman’s Hour
- Yasmeen Khan - Presenter at Talk Radio and BBC Three Counties Radio
- Marta Malagon - Assistant Producer at Talk Radio
- Jen Crothers - Founder of Boogaloo Radio
- Emma Bradshaw - Student Radio Association and Social Media Editor at BBC One
- Hayley Wiltshire - Station Manager at Wired Student Radio
How To Deal With Sexism In The Workplace? - Wired Radio