February 22, 2016
Words by Women Awards launches
by Zeljka Marosevic
Last Monday, the 2015 Press Awards shortlist was announced. The prestigious award aims to celebrate ‘the best of UK national journalism’ and the numerous categories mean there’s room for every kind of journalist; categories range from ‘Scoop of the Year’ to ‘Critic of the Year’.
This year, as Emily Reynolds writes in The Independent:
Of the 114 shortlisted names, 20 were women – just over 17 per cent. Four weren’t white. To put this into perspective, seven men named Simon were nominated. Six categories had just one female nominee, and a further six had none at all.
In response to this, Reynolds, together with the journalists Ellie Mae O’Hagan, Marie Le Conte, Mollie Goodfellow and Robyn Vinter has been driven to establish the ‘Words by Women’ awards, which will aim to redress the gender imbalance of events like the Press Awards and reward women for their contribution to journalism.
Despite how quickly the awards were established—within a matter of days of the Press Awards’ shortlist announcement—the calibre of the judges is impressive. The all-female list of judges proves that there are plenty of female journalists in the industry, even if the Press Awards are unable to acknowledge them. It includes Helen Lewis, Deputy Editor at the New Statesman, Anne Alexander, political producer at ITV’s Good Morning Britain and Sima Kotecha, Senior Reporter at BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.
In The Independent, Reynolds explained why ‘Words by Women’ is not just about recognising the work of female journalists:
It’s also about the type of media we want to have. News outlets need to reflect their readers, and very rarely are those readers uniformly white men. If the media doesn’t represent the society it is part of, how can it report and comment on it properly?
The nominations are now open and the awards ceremony will take place on the 21st of March.
Zeljka Marosevic is the former managing director of Melville House UK.