How Girls Make Good in Radio: Surprising Stories of the Early BBC

Free public lecture by Dr Kate Murphy on 16 February 2016, 5:30pm at UTS Sydney.

On 2 May 1923, the BBC broadcast the first edition of Women’s Hour produced by Mrs Ella Fitzgerald who had joined the fledgling company a few weeks before. With its monopoly on the new medium of broadcasting in Britain, the BBC positioned itself as a modern, pioneering industry and took a largely progressive approach towards women’s work.

In the 1920s and 30s, women were employed at all levels except the very top, as program makers and press officers, librarians and literary editors, accompanists and advertising representatives.

Three women headed departments: Hilda Matheson as Director of Talks, Mary Somerville as Director of School Broadcasting and Isa Benzie as Foreign Director while countless others ‘oiled the wheels’ as typists, secretaries and clerks.

In this talk, Kate Murphy explores the role of women in the evolution of the BBC and shows how the enlightened approach of those early years gradually shifted and changed.

Dr Kate Murphy is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Bournemouth (UK). She previously worked at the BBC for 24 years, predominantly as a Senior Producer on the long-running Radio 4 program Woman’s Hour. She is the author of  Behind the Wireless: A History of Early Women at the BBC, which will be published next year.

Presented by the Centre for Media History, Macquarie University and the School of Communication, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UTS. Details:

Tuesday 16 February 2016
5.30 for 6.00–7.30pm  (followed by refreshments)
Room 10, Level 4, Building 2, UTS Broadway Campus
For catering purposes please register here.

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