This week I was at the Ageism & Sexism in the Media conference in London, held literally a stone’s throw from BBC HQ (but we resisted the temptation!)
I went for lots of reasons (more on that in future posts) but one special reason was to finally meet Miriam O’Reilly who was both speaking at and chairing the event. Miriam O’Reilly is a hero of mine for her courage in taking on the BBC for their blatant ageist discrimination against women (femageism). For one woman to stand up to the might of a corporation like the BBC takes some doing; right was on her side and she won. But Miriam has suffered for that not least in the number of people who knew her case to be true but were afraid to speak out on her behalf for fear of losing their own jobs. Undaunted, she continues to speak out against ageism and to support women in their fight against ageist discrimination in all manner of ways, one of which is to have co-founded the Women’s Equality Network
I admit to feeling a tad apprenhensive as I approached the venue; Miriam and I have talked often on the phone and emailed and tweeted etc but would she be the women I thought I knew when I finally met her? The answer was no, she was masses better! Hearing her speak was an emotional experience as she is an honest and inspiring speaker. I wanted to rush the stage and hug her (but as you can see in the picture we saved that for a more appropriate moment).
Back to the conference – part of the aim of this conference was to bring some like minded people together to look at some of the latest research on ageism and to discuss how to combat it. There are many ways of doing this but I have one suggestion that I think will send a powerful message out.
BBC Radio Woman’s Hour Power List
I am a wholesale admirer of Miriam and I think women across the UK have a reason to be grateful to women like Miriam who stand up not only for themselves, but for the rights of all women when they put themselves in the firing line. For that reason I am nominating Miriam for the BBC’s power list run by Women’s Hour. What better way to say to the BBC you must change your policies towards women in the media? That we demand to see older women on our screens as often as we see older men, presenting serious programmes, not relgated to the radio or day time TV. We need the BBC to hear us!
Here’s the criteria:
The Woman’s Hour Power List will survey the achievements of British women across public life and offer some measure of the progress women have made in society. We hope to shine a light on the top female politicians, business women and leaders in their field – from areas as diverse as finance, education, health, engineering and the arts. And we will ask how much power these women have in modern Britain?
Woman’s Hour is asking you to suggest the women who you think have the greatest influence and ability to change the way we live our lives in the UK today. We will pass your suggestions on to our panel of judges.
Please join me and click this link and nominate Miriam now.
P.S. This is what I wrote in my nomination:
- “Because she has done, and continues to do, so much for women and their fight to be taken seriously once the cloak of middle aged invisibility settles on them post 45.
- Because she showed tremendous courage in taking on the might of the BBC when less strong women prefer to complain off the record but will not act for fear of reprisals.
- Because she continues to speak out and spread the message about how women are portrayed in the media
- Because she is a beacon of hope for women suffering ageist discrimination and feeling ‘on the scrap heap’.
- Because she has set up the Women’s Equality Network proving she was not just in it for herself but has a mission to help other women.
- Because it would be right for the BBC in some small way to acknowledge what this woman has done and continues to do for women and the cause of equality across the UK
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Posted on November 14th, 2012 by Jane