This article analyzes the connections between gender, labor, and mobility by tracing the transnational careers of two Australian women who began working at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in the 1930s and 1940s: Peggie Broadhead and Muriel Howlett. Both participated in the production of media content aimed at British diasporic audiences while at the same time negotiating their own Australian national identity and sense of belonging, within an imperial framework. A close study of institutional and private archives reveals that these professional responsibilities and tensions resulted in the formation of a new transnational identity of “Dominions broadcaster.” This article reveals the agency and adaptability of Australian women working in international broadcasting, and argues that through their labor and mobility they inscribed and made real the idea of imperial and Commonwealth networks.
Australian Women Working in British Broadcasting in the 1930s and 1940s
Jeannine Baker is a historian and postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Media, Music, Communication, and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University, Sydney. She researches the history of women's labor in the media industries. She is the author of Australian Women War Reporters: Boer War to Vietnam (NewSouth, 2015), and she coedited (with Justine Lloyd) the special issue of Media International Australia devoted to “Gendered Labour and Media” (2016). In 2018, while a British Academy visiting fellow at the University of Sussex, she coedited (with Kate Murphy) a website on the pioneering women of the BBC, https://www.bbc.co.uk/historyofthebbc/women-pioneers.
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Jeannine Baker; Australian Women Working in British Broadcasting in the 1930s and 1940s. Feminist Media Histories 1 July 2019; 5 (3): 140–167. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2019.5.3.140
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