Saturday 23 February 2019

'I am proud to lead the charge for equality in RTE', says Dee Forbes

RTÉ's Dee Forbes and Galway 2020 CEO Hannah Kiely announce their partnership for Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture
RTÉ's Dee Forbes and Galway 2020 CEO Hannah Kiely announce their partnership for Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture

RTE Director General Dee Forbes has said there are issues in the national broadcaster around gender equality and pay, but said it is something she is striving to change.

The Cork woman told how she is proud to be leading the way to make RTE a more "inclusive" organisation as its first female Director General.

"RTE is not without its challenges. We get lots of good press and lots of bad press," she said.

"We've been around for a long, long time and yes there are issues.

"There are issues around pay, there are issues around gender equality.

"The important thing is we are tackling them. If anything has come out of the Me Too and Time's up movements, it's that there is more awareness now.

"There are conversations being had about how do we have a more diverse organisation? How do we have an organisation that is more inclusive? How do we address the issues of pay?'

"All of this is ongoing in RTE now and I am very proud to be leading that charge.

"It's something we won't solve overnight because some of these things have been around for a long time."

Speaking at the Press for Progress event at the National Concert Hall for International Women's Day, Ms Forbes admitted that many people questioned her choice to accept a position in RTE after working in the media industry in London for 27 years.

"I took the job, many wonder why. One of the main reasons for me was, I grew up with RTE. I grew up with one channel for most of my life," she said.


"Even though I was away for 27 years, being in media, I was intrigued by what was happening here anyway. I always watched RTE. It's such an important part of the culture of this country.

"What RTE does is it champions Irish culture."

Ms Forbes recalled receiving letters of support from the public when she arrived in RTE and said there is a responsibility that comes with being the first female Director General.

"I thought I would never come back to Ireland and then I got a phone call about the job in RTE. I was approached about the role and got into the process and here I am," she said.

"I am hugely proud to be the first female DG of RTE. It comes with a huge responsibility to RTE, our audiences, and other women."

Ms Forbes stated that she believes the only thing that may hold women back is a lack of confidence.

"Once you get over the confidence hurdle, you can achieve anything," she said.

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