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elise-gallagher
24th February 2017

Letter from the Deputy Editor: Women in Media

With a week to go before the Women in Media Conference, Elise Gallagher, Co-Chair and Deputy Editor writes about her own experiences trying to make it in the media

This week’s issue of The Mancunion promises a look into the yearly Reclaim the Night and what the people marching had to say, as well as a student safety special in our Opinion section.

However, as some of you may be aware, with the help of Amnesty International and the NUS, this weekend the People’s History Museum will be throwing it’s doors open to host our Women in Media Conference. A conference which I am very proud to say I am a Co-chair of.

All money raised this weekend will go to Manchester Action on Street Health (MASH), a small local charity that provides long-lasting help to women involved in sex work; from their safe house in Manchester’s red light district they provide workers with everything they need to keep safe and well.

Women in Media was an idea completely created and developed by the student volunteers involved in the Manchester Media Group, and it wasn’t just the female ones either.

Put simply, we aim to surround our delegates with fantastic women who have incredible media careers and empower confidence in other students to do the same.

As someone who is proud to be from a Manchester working class family I have never felt that my socio-economic status has impaired me in anyway. I didn’t struggle through school or college, my family’s encouragement never faltered and my aspirations weren’t shackled to a postcode. Only now, approaching my final semester, I feel that my class will become a hurdle. And this is because of one simple thing: The education system isn’t the same as the real world.

The media is an industry which relies heavily on unpaid work when first starting out, and unfortunately this is a luxury which leaves many behind. With reports of unpaid internships, poor work experience and even bidding for internships, a large number of high profile media professionals and celebrities have come forward to speak out about this issue.

Although it can often feel that these opportunities are only for the privileged, things are changing.

Creative and industrial industries are one of the fastest-growing sectors in the region, with the industry growing faster than anywhere in the UK. Manchester is home to Media CityUK, which is due to expand in coming years. Hopefully, this is a sign that media concentration in London will spread it’s wings and share the distribution.

This is why I’m particularly looking forward to sessions such as ‘Our Manchester Women’ and Robyn Vinter’s workshop ‘The class barrier: Why Media needs more Working class women’Although last year’s conference exceeded expectations, we’ve made a conscious effort to make this year’s line up even more diverse in terms of media genre, age, race, and class.

Tickets are still available and if you can’t make it you are still able to donate to such a worthy cause! Each day kicks off at 10am and finishes at 4pm, all information can be found at our website: womeninmediacon.co.uk.

There’s something there for everyone, so I hope to see you there!

Thank you, and I hope you enjoy this issue of The Mancunion.


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