Stoke conference: women urged to challenge status quo in broadcasting

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A debate on women in broadcasting, discussing better balance in television and radio, formed part of the North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent celebration of International Women’s Day.

The talk, hosted by Sarah Gayton founder of Farmers on Film, invited a variety of  women broadcasters on stage to talk about their careers in film, radio and self-broadcasting, at the Mitchell Arts Centre in Hanley.

In a recorded interview with Sarah, Lord Chris Holmes from the Equality and Human Rights Commission said:

“The reality of it is, in 21st century modern Britain, there is still a gender pay gap, women are under-represented in our top companies in executive and non-executive positions and women are under-represented in the media.

“It matters to highlight all those issues on one day, to get it into the minds of the public, politicians and policy makers.

“Every day should be relentlessly focused on creating inclusive environments, inclusive cultures and inclusive built environments.

“The media don’t just report and reflect, they shape opinions, views and perspectives. So if there’s under-representation of women behind the camera, on screen and in front of the cam era, that’s a massive problem because that perspective isn’t there in the full force and richness that it needs to be.”

Jane Williams, a Midlands-based multimedia producer, director and writer who has worked on BBC programmes such as Countryfile, Strictly Come Dancing and See Hear, gave a candid talk on her career so far. Jane who now runs ‘Fandango Media’ also addressed the imbalance in broadcasting by encouraging women:

“Find the director within and use the power of the media to promote action that brings about positive change,” she said.

The conference also heard from Grace Mahoney a student in TV and Film set design. She presented the extended trailer of ‘Shadows’ and discussed her role as Production Designer in the film. She said: “The women in the industry have been a massive asset to me so far. If anything because a lot of them have told me of the struggles they had entering the industry, it’s almost like they don’t want me to go through the same thing”.

The conference also saw an interview with David Jennings Head of Regional and Local Programming for BBC West Midlands and films on issues affecting young girls and women across the world from the Girls Impact the World Film Festival.

Sarah Gayton –  http://farmersonfilm.org/

Equality and Human Rights Commission – http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/blog/thinking-outside-box

Girls Impact the World Film Festival –      http://www.connecther.org/gitw

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