I listened to Jane Garvey from Woman’s Hour speaking at a Girls school making us realise the highs and lows of being a woman in 2017.
Her own story is inspiring in the depth of self belief and determination. She always wanted to be a broadcaster and sent 40 letters to radio stations with only 4 replies. Garvey started as a promotions assistant at Radio Worcester. The role required wearing a tight t-shirt and handing out car stickers etc… in the 80s this was not really challenged. Fast track to 2017 and wearing high heels at reception is being questioned. Garvey went on to be the first voice of Radio Five Live and then joined the BBC to present Woman’s Hour.
In 2017, Woman’s Hour is going to be 70 years old. When it was conceived it was “To provide company for the poor wretched Housewife”. In 2017 it tackles FGM and looks at the struggles of international women. Through the radio you are taken to other worlds and realise how far we still need to go to reach emancipation and equality with our male counterpart.
The early days the service of Woman’s Hour brought you:-
- “What to do with whale meat?”
- “How to hang your husband’s suit?”
The last item was deemed really important for family morale.
Equal pay is constant theme throughout the programme and most recently the Professor Mary Beard said that she was not paid as much as her male contemporaries. When challenged by Garvey on air, she explained how lucky she was. Sheryl Sandberg who wrote the book Lean In talks about women having this view of “grateful”. Women ask other women to mentor them where as men don’t ask. There is still a cloud over successful women as are they not deemed “likeable” the same question would never be considered with a man.
Woman’s hour is a magazine programme so often the links can be quite comical. Garvey told the story of interviewing Gordon Brown about the election for 23 minutes and the next feed was “Is it ever advisable to go out without a bra”. Brown made a very swift exit.
The audience of woman’s hour is an average age of 52/53 and yet the items are often more relevant for a younger audience. The programme has fostered a trust with its listeners and they are encouraged to share the content.
We need to ask uncomfortable questions and follow the lead of Woman’s Hour itself. Over the years it has been reinvented. It is not just company now for the poor wretched housewife it is a voice of the future for women.