herald

Monday 11 December 2017

'There are a lot of mediocre men on the radio', says ex-Today FM star Mairead

Mairead Ronan
Mairead Ronan

Former Today FM star Mairead Ronan has said there is a "massive" lack of female voices on Irish radio and that even "mediocre" men are favoured over them.

Mairead (37) told the Herald that the limited number of woman who have their own shows is a cause of concern.

She believed this could be because motherhood may be viewed as a negative.

"Is there a lack of female voices because maybe when you have a baby you're gone for a chunk of time?" she said.

"I think it's a real shame because we've got lots to say as women, as do a lot of men, but there's a lot of mediocre men on air. We need a gender balance."

The mother-of-two said gender imbalance was not an issue for her during her 15 years in radio production, but said there was a distinct lack of female voices on air.

"When I was younger, I wouldn't have seen gender imbalance as an issue because there are a lot of women in management positions, as executive producers and series producers," she said.

"I was a producer with Jenny Kelly on Ray D'Arcy, Matt Cooper and Ian Dempsey had female producers, 104FM was run by a woman but, on air, there's a massive lack of female voices and it's a real pity."

Mairead is currently enjoying a successful TV career with two shows, travel series Getaways, which returns in January, and Ireland's Fittest Family, which is back in October.

Shame

She said she was not aware of a gender pay gap in her career - but she never knew what men were earning.

"I didn't know if I was on the same as the person beside me or if I was on €5,000 more or less," she said.

With the UK bringing in legislation to name and shame companies that pay women less, Mairead said it would be a positive if Ireland followed suit and "embarrassed companies" into bridging the gender pay gap.

She said she was now "happy" with her work-life balance, sharing parenthood with her husband, businessman Louis Ronan.

"Dara is an amazing help," she said of her 10-year-old son. "I don't know how people do it with two under two-years-old.

"Eliza is 11-months-old and I'm very lucky, she's a really good baby."

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