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Women - Get Noisy!

on Sun, 05/04/2014 - 17:40

I am sure that many women listening to a discussion BBC Radio 4's Today programme this week on women's confidence would quietly nod to themselves in agreement with the premise being aired. Women stop themselves moving forward in their careers because of a lack of confidence, however unjustified that lack of confidence might be.

A survey of successful businesswomen suggested that all of them lacked confidence in their own abilities. This prevented them putting themselves forward for jobs or promotions and as a result, women spend longer than their male counterparts in the same job. The survey suggested that when it comes to job applications women would only apply if they felt they satisfied 100% of the criteria, while men would be happy going for it despite feeling they only fulfilled 60% of the requirements.

This is something we have been aware of in the world of broadcasting for a long time. As a researcher, producer and editor of a host of different types of radio and TV programmes I have struggled to get women experts to take part. I have repeatedly found that unless the subject being discussed is exactly the area of expertise of the female contributor, they are reluctant to go on air. Men on the other hand are far happier to “pitch in” and put themselves forward if the subject is “vaguely in their ballpark of expertise”.

The main reason for this difference in attitude is that women are less prepared to take risks - to put themselves outside of their comfort zone. Women tend to be the worker bees, grafting away and keeping everything ticking over. But the danger with never taking the plunge and putting yourself centre stage is that you become invisible - your knowledge and expertise overlooked.

Media Woman says it's time for women to get noisy - step up to the plate and makes some waves - preferably on air.