A new research report auditing gender and diversity change in Irish media sectors has found that while the Irish screen industry has demonstrated an appetite for further engagement on equality, diversity and inclusion, leadership in the form of statutory support and resources is required to embed them into national broadcasting legislation, policy, and implementation practices.
Research for the report, entitled Auditing Gender & Diversity Change in Irish Media Sectors, was carried out by WFT Chair Dr Susan Liddy, MIC, University of Limerick, Dr Anne O’Brien, Maynooth University, and Dr Páraic Kerrigan, University College Dublin, and was funded under the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s Media Research Funding Scheme. All of the academics are experts in gender and/or sexual inequality.
The purpose of the project was to examine how equality, diversity and inclusion policies and initiatives are promoted and implemented on the ground by broadcasters, production companies and professional organisations, with the aim of generating a solution-centric discussion on diversity and inclusion in Irish media industries. A qualitative case study approach was taken to the research, and a total of 27 interviews were carried out between January and April 2021 with respondents in key roles concerned with implementing equality and diversity policy within their organisation. The findings addressed the themes of policy, perspectives and practices that encourage diversity; creating a pipeline of diverse workers for industry; leadership for change in the sector; and educating industry for greater understanding of diversity and inclusion.
The research was funded under the BAI’s 2019 Media Research Funding Scheme, which aims to support research initiatives that facilitate the BAI in undertaking its regulatory activities and in meeting the needs of viewers and listeners in Ireland. The Scheme also supports the BAI in developing and maintaining relevant links with third-level institutions and the broadcasting sector. A separate research report funded under the Scheme, focusing on diversity and inclusion in public service broadcasting, and undertaken by DCU in partnership with RTÉ, is due to be launched in August. Overall, €56,318 was made available under the scheme to suitably qualified academics, researchers and broadcasting/media professionals in order to carry out research project(s) on themes of relevance to the work of the BAI.
Commenting, Deputy Chief Executive of the BAI, Celene Craig said: “Promoting and supporting diversity, equality and inclusion in the media is a critical area of focus for the BAI. As both a developer and regulator of the broadcasting sector, we have a responsibility to lead this change. In this regard the BAI is collaborating with the Department of Tourism Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media on an ongoing basis. This report will further inform our approach and, as we transition to the establishment of the Media Commission, contribute to discussions and the development of policy to strengthen the role of regulation in this area. We also note from the report the importance of developing robust data gathering mechanisms. The BAI favours a partnership approach to data collection, which will allow us to work with other key industry stakeholders towards developing an appropriate data collection framework.”
The research report can be found here.