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Edith Bowman on equality at work

Over the years Edith Bowman has worked with many great women, so why do so few get the top jobs?
Edith Bowman on equality at work
July 10, 2017   |    Edith Bowman

Have you ever had a female boss? I have, but sadly they have been few and far between. Christine Boar was the woman who gave me my break in TV and I have everything to thank her for. She put me on MTV despite my broad Scottish accent when launching their UK channel in 1997.

It was my first job close to what I really wanted to do and I’d been hired by a woman along with other women – Cat Deeley, June Sarpong, Sara Cox and Donna Air – plus I was doing news bulletins for Lucy, my editor.

It didn’t seem like a social milestone for roles in the industry. I guess because I grew up in a healthy female environment, (my family’s 50-room hotel was pretty much run by strong willed women).

Cut to 20 years later and I’m one of the only female solo radio show host on a national commercial radio station. What’s going on?

I’m not about to man bash; I just believe in equality. We shouldn’t be talking men vs women, but who does the best job based on their ability.

But I will point out that us women are generally better at multi-tasking.

LOVE AND RESPECT

The debate on how women are represented in the workplace has gone on for decades. I can only give you my experience and I’m grateful that since those MTV days I’ve been influenced and educated by inspiring women all along the way, on and off air.

The problem, I think, lies in the higher ranks. More often than not, senior positions are filled by men and I reckon that’s mainly because they won’t leave. I know at least half a dozen women who should be running the show, but have never been given the opportunity.

There are some very obvious areas where we need more female voices to be heard. The film world definitely needs to do more for women. Just look at how much Wonder Woman kicked ass, helmed by the formidable Patty Jenkins. In my podcast, Soundtracking, I speak to filmmakers about their relationships with music. I’m sad to say that in the near 50 episodes we’ve made, only a handful involved women. And that’s not for want of trying.

One thing I would like to encourage women to think about is how we treat each other: be encouraging and happy for another person’s achievements. Jealousy is an evil beast. I’ve succumbed to negative thoughts and always hated myself for doing it. I’ve now worked out a way to allow myself to feel upset but then base my response on the idea that it’s just not right for me.

My mum used to say – and still does – ‘What’s meant for you won’t pass you by.’ It’s sound advice and hearing that in my head gives me a shake to move on and be the best version of myself. Female or not.

Listen to Edith at Breakfast weekdays from 6am-10am on Virgin Radio. The free podcast Soundtracking can be downloaded from edithbowman.com.

Share your thoughts with me @edibow and @BalanceLDN

Read more: Edith Bowman on communication

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