Saturday, 14 March 2015


At least I like to think I'm not. 

I am a 46 years old woman and I am interested in a career in journalism. 

Now realistically an employer will take one look at that CV, see only the "46 years old woman" bit and throw it in the garbage without a second look. I may have the drive, the enthusiasm, and even the potential to be a damn good journalist. But to an employer I am just a "46 year old woman" who is trying to get into the business far too late. Technically this is true, but it doesn't make it right. 

And it's not just people who, like me, are trying to get in. Women who are already in the business are in trouble too. Some are doing okay, but there are stories of some companies who have effectively fired female journalists as soon as they get over 45, as if their age suddenly inhibits their capability to do the job.

It's something that really needs to be changed right now. I want more than anything to follow in the footsteps of my inspiration, Bill Neely, but all my enquiries to any news company have come to nought. Any applications I have sent - whether they be for jobs or internships - have been ignored. It isn't through lack of skill or qualifications. Qualifications aren't specifically necessary to be a journalist and I know from comments I've had that I have skill and potential. So what's left for them to ignore? Yes, exactly. The one thing that really shouldn't make a difference.

One journalist I like, recently said that there are no grey-haired women in journalism. Well, I'll be the first then. I don't use cosmetics of any kind and that includes the dreaded hair dye. I am one of the "What you see is what you get - take it or leave it" brigade. Thankfully I still have my brown hair so far. But I will never try to hide my age. I'm over 40 and proud of it. It should not stop me from being able to explore my potential as a journalist. Men over 40 are welcome in journalism. It should be the same for women. 

Of course, if - because of me being middle-aged - employers are rejecting me, they are the only people who have a problem. They are missing out on hiring a bright, enthusiastic, young in spirit (if nothing else!) woman who has a lot of potential and the drive to pursue the career she believes she is capable of.

Maybe it's time they gave me a chance to prove it. 

I know I have to fight harder because of my gender/age, but I have plenty of female journalists to take inspiration from and to remind me why it is important. Like Katie Adie, Mary Nightingale, and Lyse Doucett.

As my hero Bill Neely once said, "We have to keep banging our head against the wall. It's an uncomfortable feeling but we have to do it".

And I will do it, until my head bleeds.

I can do the job.

Journalism may be old - I am not!!