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It’s All About That Bass: Women’s voices on radio

By Melody House, University of Strathclyde

Women, particularly when they are public figures, are often strongly criticised for the way they speak and sound. From Margaret Thatcher, who has been described as transforming her voice from that of a ‘shrill housewife’ to a more refined Prime Minister, to Hillary Clinton, voice is yet another gendered way in which women are judged. During the 2016 US Presidential Elections, so much attention was focused on Clinton’s ‘screechy’ voice that it inspired The Atlantic to release a video titled, ‘The Science Behind Hating Hillary’s Voice’. This was accompanied by numerous articles, news shows, and think pieces, all concerned with why Clinton’s voice was so annoying. But she’s not the only one. Increasingly, professional women are seeking out voice coaches in order to ‘correct’ their speech. The most common adjustment is to lower their pitch.

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