The Mancunion

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Women in Media networking event at The Botanist

The informal ‘Women in Media’ networking event is a chance to speak to respected women within the industry and meet this year’s ‘Women in Media’ committee

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Manchester Media Group’s ‘Women in Media’ committee are hosting a networking event at the Botanist in MediaCityUK, connecting the public and students with some of the media’s leading women.

From 7pm on the 15th of November, guests will be able to mingle with experts from areas such as PR, broadcast journalism, television production and more, all over cocktails at The Botanist in MediaCityUK. Media City, located in Salford Quays, is home to ITV, the BBC, and more, providing Manchester residents with close access to some of the biggest companies in the media industry.

Co-chair of the Women in Media group, Zoë Dukoff-Gordon, advocated the event saying: “It’s a great way to hear more about the industry, whether it’s something you may be considering as a career or if you are set on it already. It’s also a really nice space to just learn a bit more about the female faces behind the media, whether or not it’s a career you want to pursue.”

The networking event will also work to promote the Women in Media Conference, taking place this March, which will celebrate women in media, providing keynote speakers and information on current media issues and trends.

The ‘Women in Media’ conference will take place a month after the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which gave women over the age of thirty who owned property the right to vote.

The networking event taking place this November, and the conference in March, come at arguably a pivotal time for women in the workplace, as sexual harassment accusations shake both Hollywood and the House of Commons. As of this week, eight Conservative MPs and four Labour MPs have been accused of sexual misconduct. In addition, a TUC report in 2016 found that 52 per cent of women had experienced some level of sexual harassment at work, with nearly a quarter of women experiencing unwanted touching in the workplace.

The media is, according to a 2016 study by City University London, 55 per cent male, and in July this year the BBC pay gap scandal displayed the gendered disparity in the media industry, and an arguable need for more gender diversity and equality within the industry.

Dukoff-Gordon commented that “it’s important for any industry to be open in accepting anyone. If they have a disability; or are Black, White, Asian, gay, straight, man, woman, transgender.” She then concluded “I think it’s people’s traditional perception that normality — in Britain anyway — is to be a white male; when this is just not the case!”

In addition, co-chair of Women in Media, Len Cotton argued that “at present, a very thwarted sense of reality is being portrayed, as predominantly men are involved in more ‘serious’ topics, such as politics.” Cotton contended that “this omits the image that women are incapable of tackling such issues which is completely wrong.”

The issue of sexual harassment has also struck universities, when earlier this year an investigation by The Guardian found harassment to be an “epidemic.”

Examining the years 2011/2012 to 2016/2017, the investigation uncovered 169 claims made by students towards university staff, with a further 127 complaints made by staff members towards their colleagues. Whilst Manchester Metropolitan University did not have any statistics in the report, The University of Manchester had less than five reports of sexual harassment from 2011.

The ‘Women in Media’ networking evening will work to promote women in the media industry and hope to be what Dukoff-Gordon describes as a “safe support network for women” in light of sexual harassment and general gender inequality.

The event will have guests such as Katie Thistleton, who has been presenting ‘the bits in between the shows’ live on CBBC for almost 5 years and now also presents ‘The CBBC Book Club’.

Summarising, Cotton said: “We need female reporters to be covering every aspect of politics to show that we are just as capable, knowledgeable and talented as our male counterparts.”

The event is at capacity but those interested can email editor@mancunion.com with their name and organisation to be added to the waiting list.