The pioneering women of the BBC’s early years

A new article by Kate Murphy on pioneer has just been published in the BBC news magazine, outlining the position of women at the BBC.  Paid maternity leave, no marriage bar (until 1932) and thus – not surprisingly – a wide range of highly educated, pioneering broadcasters.  Also splendid photographs showing women engaged at all levels of production.  Check it out.

WOMEN IN SOUND / WOMEN ON SOUND :WISWOS 2016: 22 April, Lancaster: Educating Girls in Sound

The group Women in Sound/Women on Sound is hosting its annual forum  on 22 April, Peter Scott Gallery, Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts.

Educating Girls in Sound

Submission deadline February 8th, notification of selection February 15th.

WISWOS 2016 will take place at the Peter Scott Gallery at Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts. This years WISWOS event will focus on education. The previous very successful event at Lancaster in 2015 exhibited the excellent and varied work being done by women in many areas of sound, but also made clear their lack of visibility to the young. Despite the long and effective history of women working in and on sound, the numbers involved have not risen. What impact does the current education system have on young girls to deter them from moving into the fields of science, technology, the arts and engineering with sound? How can it be improved?

Key questions we wish to explore in the Forum are:

What happens in the music/sound tech classroom?
At what point do we see the drop from equal interest to little interest?
What initiatives already exist that do encourage girls to engage?
What can we do, and should we do it or not?

 

Full details here.

Cold War radio jamming – also a gendered division of labour…

Gendered divisions of labour are common in the history of radio production (and are one of the things groups like the Sound Women are seeking to address.)  It has happened quite regularly that once a technical task (such as sound technician) becomes a domain open to women, it is also devalued – or vice versa.

In discussion today with Andras Simongati-Farquhar, an MA student at the Insitute of Sonology in the Hague , he pointed out that such a phenomenon also seems to have occurred in the Soviet Union’s radio jamming activities.  This is mentioned in a section of a documentary by Rimantas Pleikys, former Minister for Communications and Informatics of Lithuania, called The Empire of Noise about Soviet radio jamming.  While transmitting jamming signals was the domain of the men, it was largely a corps of women who monitored frequencies for the effects of jamming.  Check out the section of the documentary here:

 

The Story of WHER, the all-women radio station in the US

Fugitive Waves has published a 2-part documentary on Memphis’s all-female radio station WHER, begun as a novelty in 1955 that quickly took on a personality of its own.  Click on the links for part 1 and part 2.

BBC online archive collection on suffragettes

At the risk of being too British centric (you, gentle readers can help us avoid that!) I just came across a fascinating collection of mostly radio documents relating to the suffragists on the site of the BBC archive.

Worth a listen.  I particularly like the 1946 talk by Ada Flatman.  The enthusiastic and melodic delivery alone is worthwhile.

Radio Role Models for African Women and Youth

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Bringing together several important things for WREN, this just spotted from the Women’s International News Gathering Service WINGS).  (On Facebook : www.facebook.com/wingsradio):

Lydia Ajono interviews Freda Pigru, a young radio station manager in rural northern Ghana, and West and Central Africa Representative to the Women’s International Network of AMARC (the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters). Pigru describes her activities running a rural community radio station and especially recruiting and supporting women, who are shy of talking on mic but sometimes sing their issues.

Download link: http://wings.org/ftp/WINGS2015series/WINGS25-15RadioRoleModels-28_47-192kbps.mp3

There are many fascinating aspects of the interview, including finding ways for women to feel comfortable speaking on the radio – sometimes singing works better! – but also note on the beginning the interviewer also asking about having enough language competence to operate in a transnational environment of AMARC (specifically whether her French is up to it) and living near the border between Ghana and Burkina Faso.

Do also note the call to help fund the stations run both by Lydia Ajono and Freda Pigru, which can also be done via WINGS:  wings@wings.org.

Kate Murphy – new blog entry on Women in the early BBC

WREN Kate Murphy has written a fascinating entry for the BBC blog on women and early BBC based on her forthcoming book Behind the Wireless: An Early History of Women at the BBC. Check it out.