THE BLOG
14/10/2015 13:53 BST | Updated 14/10/2016 06:12 BST

White Noise: Where Is the Diversity in Our Media?

With all the fuss we've been making about Nadiya Hussain winning the Great British Bake Off, you might be forgiven for thinking our TV, Radio and film industries are something of a national treasure - a multicultural recipe to be proud of. Unfortunately, though, the reality is this: we are so amazed at a British woman in a hijab on prime time television that it becomes front page news within minutes, and causes arguably an even bigger stir than #Bingate from series five.

Having recently finished my Masters in Radio, I'm no stranger to the lack of diversity present in the media industry. Last year the BBC came under fire for its overwhelmingly male cohort in every aspect of broadcasting, from its interviewees to its solo presenters. When 5 Live controller Jonathan Wall said he was 'comfortable' with his recruitment policy, he was saying he was comfortable with only one female journalist for every four male ones. This figure alone is shocking, without mentioning that transgender and non-binary presenters are practically non-existent - Stephanie Hirst alone has made it into the public realm and back onto the airwaves after a high-profile transition earlier this year.

Shockingly or not-so-shockingly, over at the Student Radio Association distributions of gender and race are barely distributed at all; within the organisation's 18 officers there are five women and only one BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) officer. Radio 1 is refreshingly diverse in this respect, with Clara Amfo taking Fearne Cotton's coveted mid-morning slot after only 15 months on the BBC's books. She takes discussions of race and radio in her stride, though, telling the Daily Mirror: "They [being a black woman] are things that I am, that I'm proud of, but they are not things that I feel should define my work."

In the same decade that we moan of 'political correctness gone mad' and 'positive discrimination', why are talented members of minority groups still hugely underrepresented on our televisions, radios and in our films? I am tired of being the only woman in an interview lineup, simply because the job had the word 'technician' in the title. I am annoyed that when women like me are represented - white women, cisgender women - there is no room for any other.

It would be lovely if the ideology of 'the best candidates for the best jobs' were to mean that all candidates had a fair and equally challenging path in their chosen careers. That is indeed what many people seem to believe when they use it. In reality, the phrase is more 'the best candidate out of whoever applied', and more often than not we're seeing white, middle class men apply - and succeed in all the industries where - yes - there's no shortage of talent, but a definite lack of real life diversity.

Whilst Nadiya tried to avoid soggy bottoms and badly tempered chocolate, Sun journalist Ally Ross cited 'ideological warfare' on the part of the BBC for daring to include finalists with the best bakes, regardless of their hijabs or sexual orientation. I'm going to keep telling myself that the generation of geriatric racists and casual homophobes - the kind that wouldn't be out of place in an armchair on the Royle Family - will not live forever, and if this is what you call warfare, consider me very much on the front line.