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Sound Women Make A Noise

15/05/2013 16:50 BST | Updated 14/07/2013 10:12 BST

And so to last night's Sony Radio Academy Awards - the Oscars of the audio broadcasting world - where it seems 2013 marked something of a victory for the industry. Could it be that radio is finally acknowledging the power of Woman?

It was here, in 2011 that the awards were notoriously dubbed 'the year of the lad', not merely because big winners included Frank Skinner, Ronnie Wood and the TalkSport team. But largely due to the overt misogyny and general 'laddy' behaviour that filled the air that night, like a cloying Lynx-effect fug. And it wasn't even the '90s! As the inimitable Miranda Sawyer, Observer columnist, broadcaster and founding member of Sound Women, lobbying group for women in radio, put it: "Most of the women who got up on stage that night were there to doll out an award rather than to receive one. Frankly, it was depressing."

And so Sound Women was born, spear-headed by the brilliant Maria Williams, a respected - and award-winning no less - executive producer. The aim? To get more female talent on the airwaves and behind the desks, to be heard amidst the often overbearing bellow of a male-dominated industry. An industry where women make up more than half of the consumers, but not nearly half of the producers or presenters. But last night, in the Grosvenor House Hotel ballroom, womankind got a small but satisfying slice of the pie. And it's left us hungry for more.

It wasn't just that women nabbed their fair share of Golds, it was that the categories won reflected the diversity of those women, pioneering the medium in their own unique specialisms. Edith Bowman got a long-overdue Sony for Best Use of Multi-platform for her Radio 1 Review Show. 6 Music's Cerys Matthews reassuringly nabbed Best Music Radio Broadcaster, with Suzy Klein as deserved runner-up. The hilarious Isy Suttie landed Best Comedy and special mention must go to Gemma Cairney for her powerful tackling of domestic violence in Best Feature Documentary, Bruising Silence.

For every woman who stood on that stage to receive an award with a triumphant air punch, it paved the way for a new generation of audio talent. Not tokenistic, not trite, simply a long overdue recognition of talent, drive and hard work, alongside some deserving men of course, most notably stalwart John Humphrys, Dermot O'Leary and Christian O'Connell.

For Sound Women, who hold their annual networking festival this weekend at the BBC Radio Theatre, it was a step in the right direction: upwards. For womankind, in a week that saw the BAFTAs dominated by Olivia Colman (not just one of the most talented women in comedy, but in TV full stop), Clare Balding and a topically hilarious gag from Romola Garai, it felt bloody great.

There's still a long way to go, of course, but if these two completely different industry awards can inspire young, female creatives and give them something to aim for, then the 2014 awards season suddenly got a whole lot more interesting.