College News

Labour men asked to promise not to appear on all-male panels

At last weekend's Labour Party Conference, male party members were asked to take a pledge not to appear in the media on an all male panel.

The campaign organised by 'Labour Women' is a response to a groundswell in calls for greater gender balance across all areas of Irish public life according to Billie Sparks, Labour's Women and Equality Officer.

Cllr Dermot Lacey of Dublin City Council was the first to agree to take the pledge this week. Lacey said the campaign was a step in the right direction towards combatting what he sees as an "incestious media culture" and encouraging real debate about discrimination in the Irish media.

Lacey said that as a long time critic of Irish media he had no hesitation in taking the pledge but conceded that he may have to work a lot harder to ensure his voice was still heard.

Lacey believes many Labour men will follow in his footsteps this weekend. "Labour has a good track record with equality issues and this is likely to be a subject close to the hearts of many Labour men," he said.

Sparks said that should anyone who agrees to take the pledge and then renegades on their word will face harsh internal criticism but also that Labour Women will not hesitate to publicly call out anyone who breaks their word.

Sparks hopes to eventually extend the campaign to non-party members.

Research conducted earlier this year demonstrated the disparity between male and female voices on Irish radio news and current affairs programmes.

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The figures showed that just a third of all voices on Irish radio were female and this figure dropped further, to just over a fifth, when the gender of those invited to talk as experts was analysed.