Sound Women Hit the North for International Women’s Day

A blog by Executive Producer Jo Meek


Thousands of events happen around the world every year on in early March to include, connect and celebrate females everywhere.

This year’s International Women’s Day came early for me, and I was just one of hundreds of ladies turning up at the magnificent Manchester Town Hall.

It’s a place that has seen many women from the Suffragettes to Annie Horniman, to Meryl Streep in full Thatcher costume, walk its grand corridors.  Manchester has a proud history of strong women and their presence was all around at ‘Inspiring Futures’ – Manchester’s International Women’s Day celebrations on Sunday 4th March.

The theme binding the event together was ‘inspiring futures’, from walking into the great hall to the vibrant sound of Hip-hop collective, Re:Verb’s welcoming boom, to wandering around rooms where a powerful barrister, an inspiring astronomer, the communications director for Bentley motors, a nuclear physicist and BBC DJs and newsreaders shared their experience and stories of incredible careers – you couldn’t get much more inspiring than this.

I watched several Dads wandering around the rooms hand in hand with their toddler daughters and I have to admit I felt a fuzzy warm glow, as women from so many walks of life shared their stories.

Women from all over the North and beyond had the chance to develop skills relating to music production, photography, IT, science, construction, writing and engineering.

Sound Women brought together a panel of women in radio, including BBC 6 Music’s Liz Kershaw, Skillset’s Jo Welch, Amazing radio’s newest voice, Shell Zenner and me.

We discussed the women (and gay men) who’ve given us opportunities both in front and behind microphones, we shared our hopes, fears and ambitions for future sound women and we dreamt of the one thing we’d all change if we ruled the world of radio for just one day.

We all shared the best bits, the not so good bits and the reasons why we love working in our respective fields of sound.  I was asked for my advice of how to make it in the world of radio, but the words of the very Savvy Justine Potter were the ones I shared with some other women looking for inspiration like me:

 I do what I do because if I didn’t do this, I’d be trying to do it.  If you feel like that (or want to feel like that) then you have nothing to lose.

They rang in my ears as I left the elegant hallways of the Town Hall and will stay with me today.

Happy International Women’s Day.