Thursday, October 31, 2013


Our Society of Women Writers and Journalists will be celebrating its 120th birthday next year and great preparations are being planned.  Watch this space!

Elise Sprott - a pioneer of wireless

Many of our own SWWJ pioneers from 1894 have found fame both on the page and in early broadcasting from London's Savoy Hill.  Elise Sprott did much to promote women in broadcasting during the 1930s and '40s, and she was one of our most energetic chairman.

Every day this week at 1.45pm on BBC Radio 4, Jane Garvey has presented a superb programme where she has investigated the stories behind five landmark moments in the history of the female voice on radio and television. How far have women really come since the early days of the wireless? To what extent are female voices now accepted as carrying the same level of authority and expertise as their male counterparts?

In the fourth programme, Prime Time Woman, Jane Garvey looks at the pioneering role played by Esther Rantzen and the campaigning programme 'That's Life' in the 1970s and 80s. She paved the way for a new style of campaigning journalism, bringing a female voice of authority to our living rooms.

We also hear from John Birt, who made the inspired choice of Cilla Black as presenter of 'Blind Date', and broadcast historians Jean Seaton and Suzanne Franks. Tomorrow 1 November is the last in the series.

Learn more about women in radio and TV covered in one of my books THE WOMAN WRITER published in 2010 on the anniversary of another of our notable chairmen and presidents, the wonderful Joyce Grenfell.
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