Maheen Behring

Naked Politics Blogger

If you thought that International Women’s Day was the only big thing for women happening in March, think again.  March 2019 will see the fourth annual Women in Media conference, taking place at the People’s History Museum in Manchester.

What is it?

The Conference takes place over the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd of March.  It features a wide range of speakers from various media backgrounds (including Naked Politics Editor in Chief Banseka Kayembe!).

Some of the confirmed speakers include sports journalists, tackling the gender imbalance in a field where just 1.8% of articles are written by women.  Others have campaigned for causes, such as No More Page 3, in order to improve the way that women are represented in the media.  Some have newly embarked on careers with the media, and are ready to share their stories.

Through a series of panels, workshops and talks, the conference aims to shine a spotlight on the amazing contributions of women in today’s media, and to inspire others to follow in their footsteps.

Why is it important?

Although increasing numbers of women are entering media-related professions, such as journalism, there are still huge inequalities in the way women are represented within the industry.  Although 65% of new entrants to journalism are women, only 22.4% of female journalists hold senior management positions. There are just two female editors of British daily newspapers, and at the 2015 British Press Awards, for every one female nominee there were 4.5 male nominees.  

These statistics, though somewhat sobering, were partly the inspiration behind the first conference.  In 2016, student journalists belonging to the Manchester Media Group, a collective of journalists and media entrepreneurs at the University of Manchester, launched the first Women in Media Conference.  Their goal was to to counterbalance these inequalities between men and women in the media through celebration of the great work women do.

The nature of the panels is designed to recognise and promote diversity in the media, with LGBT+ and BAME sessions.  And the conference aims to showcase the many opportunities that pursuing a career in the media can offer – whether that be work in PR and Communications or fronting your own radio show.

By hosting the event in the People’s History Museum in Manchester, the organisers hope that the museum’s ethos, of showcasing ‘ideas worth fighting for’, will permeate the event itself.

Here’s what the organisers say:

Isabella Jewell, co-Chair of Women in Media, offers her take on the upcoming event:

‘This student-led conference puts women and their success at the centre. We are placing a spotlight on female talent in a variety of media-related roles, in order to inspire the next generation of women in the media.

Whether you’re interested in PR and Comms, broadcast journalism, social media or more, there is something for everyone. It will also provide a great opportunity to network with experts in their field, as well as fellow attendees with a similar passion for the media. This conference showcases female talent in careers that tend to be male-dominated or can be unwelcoming spaces for women.

We want to break these glass ceilings, discussing the best pathways into these roles, highlighting the variety of careers that are available, and combating the existing issues that exist in our society, regarding sexism and discrimination. On the weekend before International Women’s Day, this conference promises to spark conversation and inspire young women.’

So what’s in it for me?

Well, aside from what Isabella mentions, about the opportunities to network and be inspired by the achievements and hard work of women in a once male-dominated industry, there are lots of reasons why you should consider attending the conference.

There is an exciting keynote speaker, Clare Rewcastle Brown, who traced a trail of political corruption in Malaysia whilst investigating deforestation in the Sarawak region.  Her discoveries led her to start a blog which publicised news stories that the Malaysian government was attempting to suppress. There is also an investigative news panel whose speakers cannot be named at this point as the material covered is highly sensitive.

a workshop on telling a story via audio production from last year’s conference

Not only will the content be dynamic and exciting, but tickets are priced at just £12 for a day, and £17.50 for the weekend.  All proceeds made from ticket sales will go to the charity Manchester Action on Street Health (MASH), a charity which offers help and advice to sex workers in Manchester.  

So if you can make it, make sure you check out the conference – it’s not something you want to miss!  

If you’d like to attend the Women In Media you can grab a ticket here. You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Last Update: February 25, 2019