Presenter of BBC Woman's Hour since 2007 and LJMU Honorary Fellow, Jane Garvey visited the University to talk about journalism, the BBC, and issues concerning women today.
Recently nominated in the top ten of the 50 best British radio broadcasters of all time according to the Radio Times, Jane was the first voice on Radio 5 Live when it was launched in 1994. She currently co-stars in the Fortunately podcast which was awarded Audio and Radio Industry Funniest Show in 2018.
With a degree in English literature herself, Jane was able to connect with her audience. She spoke about her childhood, growing up in Liverpool. Initially, her ambition was to become a bus conductor, but as a teenager, her passion for radio was sparked by listening to Radio Merseyside.
Jane is vocal about women’s rights and has been open about the challenges she faced meeting the demands of her career while being a single mother. On Woman’s Hour, she's been credited with bringing the programme up-to-date in its frank, yet sensitive treatment of the concerns of women today. Over the past few years, she has become a powerful voice in drawing attention to the gender pay gap and inequalities within the BBC and beyond.
What students thought of Jane Garvey
Students were delighted to meet a successful, passionate and energetic role model. Alex Lowe and Ana Ward were given the unique opportunity to visit the Woman’s Hour studio at the BBC. While Lindsay Wilkinson and Rosa Pocknell gave a presentation on the Writing Lives project to Jane and others who attended the event at LJMU.
Alex Lowe aims to continue his education by undertaking a masters in journalism.
“The trip to London was very insightful – getting to see the show in action and meeting the people behind it helped me a lot. It's the reason why I'm looking at doing a journalism masters now.
“Jane was great, down to earth and told it like it was. I asked her what she thought the best way into journalism is these days, as times have changed a lot. She told me to just get my face out there and don't be scared of rejection. Don't take no for an answer kind of attitude. She told us not to forget that the BBC needs us more than we need the BBC.”
Lindsay Wilkinson plans to complete an MRes at LJMU next year and use that qualification as a platform for PhD study or a research career. She is a prolific reader and writer and opted to study English because of the wide module choices available. She spoke highly of her experience meeting Jane Garvey.
"Jane was so natural and proud of her working-class background. One thing that stuck with me was Jane’s advice to be tenacious if one is determined to work in media or for the BBC. She was realistic with her advice and spoke about her own career path from making tea in the 80’s to being the presenter of Woman’s Hour today. After she spoke about the diverse guest list she is presented with every day, I asked her if she does much research before interviewing her guests. She said that being experienced, she no longer uses a script, preferring to go with the natural flow. I think Jane’s naturalness was part of her charm and I was lucky enough to be selected to have lunch with her after the Q&A. It was a huge honour to present my work on a project which began with a radio shout-out on Woman's Hour back in the 80’s."
Rosa Pocknell plans on becoming a scriptwriter for film and television. Like Lindsay, she found Jane's talk inspirational.
"Meeting Jane Garvey was excellent, I think it's fantastic whenever the University is able to arrange Q&A's like this. When she spoke about her earlier career, I was particularly interested hearing about the difference in opportunities for women and things she experienced first hand as a result of her gender."
The Writing Lives website gives a voice to working-class authors and is a useful resource to explore working-class culture and identity; it makes up one of the final-year modules on the English programmes.
Jane is just one of the interesting guest speakers that students of English can hear from during their time at LJMU. If you’re interested in studying English Literature take a look at the course information or view the full range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes within the subject area.