By Kate Murphy
Behind the Wireless tells the tale of ladies on the BBC within the Twenties and 30s. Broadcasting used to be fresh in Britain and the BBC built with no a few of the overt discriminatory practices average on the time. girls have been hired in any respect degrees, other than the very best, for example as secretaries, documentary makers, advertisements representatives, and librarians. 3 girls held Director point posts, Hilda Matheson (Director of Talks), Mary Somerville (Director of college Broadcasting), and Isa Benzie (Foreign Director). ladies additionally produced the programmes aimed toward lady listeners and taken ladies broadcasters to the microphone. there has been an ethos of equality and the opportunity to upward push throughout the ranks from debts clerk to accompanist. yet lurking in the back of the façade of modernity have been hidden inequalities in recruitment, pay, and advertising and in 1932 a wedding bar was once brought. Kate Murphy examines how and why the interwar BBC created new possibilities for ladies.
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Additional resources for Behind the Wireless: A History of Early Women at the BBC
94 The Oral History of the BBC: Mary Lewis interview, 13 December 1978. 95 Dorothy Torry interviewed by Kate Murphy, 28 June 2006. 90. 23. 98 Daily Express, 6 August 1937. ‘GROWING LIKE A YOUNG GIANT’: THE BBC AS A PLACE TO WORK 35 Gorham, who confessed to shocking his superiors by wearing flannel trousers and a red tie when he joined the Corporation in 1926, qualified his statement about dazzling secretaries with the addendum that he was surprised ‘so many of them were keen on their jobs’. 99 Photographs of the time show that those who were waged were more likely to dress glamorously—and wear make-up.
113 The BBC Club, introduced by Reith in 1925, was quickly embraced by staff. 115 The BBC Club Bulletin, first published in January 1930, listed not only a wide range of sporting activities but also an Amateur Dramatics Society and a Debating Society. 116 Elise Sprott is a prime example of a Club enthusiast. Not only was she Secretary to the Hockey Club and a keen member of the Motoring Club but she also sat on the Pavilion and Grounds Committee, where she had responsibility for catering. 118 The BBC Club promoted ‘healthy interdepartmental and individual 111 The first Holidays with Pay Act was passed in 1938.
116 The Heterodyne, June 1930. 117 BBC Club Bulletin, December 1930. 118 Ariel, June 1936. 120 Separate Clubs were also established at all the BBC’s Regional offices and at some Transmission stations. 121 The BBC, like many other large companies and organisations, tapped into this passion for sports with its profusion of sports clubs. While many were single-sex, women were ranked alongside men in motoring, rifle shooting and table-tennis and played alongside men in chess and bridge. 122 BBC teams also played outside fixtures, with the Ladies Netball Club competing against, for instance, Lloyds Bank, Southern Railway and WH Smith, while the Ladies Hockey Team took on Battersea Polytechnic and the Ministry of Labour.