How to handle a patronising dipshit: A guide
I received this email this morning in response to my Daily Life piece yesterday on the absence of women’s voices in media.
Obviously you have not listened to Lindy Burns on ABC 774 Monday to Friday from 7.00 to 10.00 PM. Prior to this gig she hosted the Drive show for several years.
Before Lindy did Drive we had Virginia Trioli hosting Drive for years and she was brilliant. It’s a pity she went to Sydney , where she did not do as well.
Perhaps a bit more research would make your story a bit more believable.”
And here is where I deliver what I believe is known as a ‘SICK BURN’ to the fellow who took precious time out of his day to prove something I omitted in the written submission of the piece - that people often point to Lindy Burns as proof that gender disparity is a lie.
Interestingly, when I delivered the speech I mentioned people who think the name ‘Lindy Burns’ is somehow proof that women don’t experience sexism in radio. I’m thrilled to have someone prove my point. So thank you for that. You’ve no idea how satisfying it is to have what you predict will happen come true.
As to Virginia Trioli and Lindy Burns being proof that women somehow experience equality in radio just because two of them have worked at the ABC, I’ll add some more to your list.
Kelly Higgins-Devine, Eleanor Hall, Rebecca Levingston, Linda Mottram, Sonya Feldhoff, Gillian O’Shaughnessey, Julia Christensen, Kate O’Toole, Vicki Kerrigan, Nadine Moroney, Sarah Gillman, Penny Terry, Helen Shield, Geneveive Jacobs, Alex Sloan.
16 women across all the major capital cities in local ABC studios in Australia (we must absent Trioli because she no longer works in local radio). Let’s look at the blokes, shall we?
Jon Faine, Richard Fidler, Matt Abraham, David Bevan, Peter Goers, Raphael Epstein, Red Symons, Tony Eastley, Richard Stubbs, Tim Palmer, Tony Delroy, Ian Henschke, Michael Smyth, Adam Spencer, James Valentine, Richard Glover, Dominic Knight, Spencer Howson, Steve Austin, Tim Cox, Jonathan Morrell, Eoin Cameron, Geoff Hutchison, Russell Woolf, Trevor Chappell, Matt Brann, Richard Margetson, Ivor Cole, Stewart Brash, Rohan Barwick, Ryk Goddard, Tony Briscoe, Damien Brown, Ross Solly, Adam Shirley.
35 men. So of 51 people working in ABC local radio across Australia (I looked at Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Hobart, Perth, Canberra, Darwin and Alice Springs), only 31.3% of positions are held by women. This is just shy of supporting my statement that women fill 20 - 30% of the public space.
But when you further consider that, of those 35 men, four of them have shows simulcast around the country (Trevor Chappell, Tony Eastley, Tony Delroy, Tim Palmer are simulcast across 9 stations) and two of them simulcast around parts of the country (Richard Fidler with 7 simulcasts and Dominic Knight with 2) - and only 1 woman can boast similar (Eleanor Hall with The World Today) - then the numbers become a little different.
What we’re then saying is that out of 99 weekday timeslots across 9 different stations, 75 of those have male hosts and only 24 have women. That means only around 24.24% of voices heard around the country on local ABC stations across the board belong to women. Or, to give you a different perspective, 75.76% of those 99 shows belong to men.
So the next time you feel like writing to a woman pointing out inequality to tell her to do your research better, perhaps you should actually do some of your own. Lindy Burns may host the Evenings show on ABC 774, but the state of womanhood isn’t a characteristic whose presence in and of itself signifies thoughtful diversity.