Midsomer Norton-based local radio station Somer Valley FM pulled out all the stops to make female voices heard across the region on International Women’s Day, which took place on Friday 8th March.

The theme for International Women’s Day this year was “Inspire Inclusion: when we inspire others to understand and value women's inclusion, we forge a better world”. This is a message echoed by the local radio station, which inspires everyone who comes through its doors to feel empowered to use their voice and find confidence in doing so. Somer Valley FM has always had low barriers to entry and has proactively reached out over the years to women of the region to have a solid voice on local radio.

Somer Valley FM provided a schedule of shows exclusively featuring female voices, making a total of thirteen of their dedicated volunteers heard during daytime hours (7am - 6pm) to celebrate the important calendar event.

As well as celebrating women, the local radio station also had the opportunity to celebrate recognition and success with their social posts on the day reaching over 5,000 people. The station has a social media audience made up of 48 per cent women, which “shows the importance of highlighting calendar days like this”, said Somer Valley FM’s technical director, Pete Helmore.

Somer Valley FM was the only local radio station that provided such a platform to its female volunteers and was one of few across the whole country that brought women’s voices to the forefront.

The station provides a platform for women to showcase their skills every day and recognises the importance of providing a gender-balanced schedule, with a total of 42% of daytime hours being presented by women every week, broadcasting to Bristol, Clifton and Keynsham on DAB Digital Radio and 97.5 FM in Midsomer Norton and the surrounding areas. Somer Valley can also heard online, on smart speaker, mobile app and On-Demand.

Yvonne Bignall is a Director of Somer Valley FM who took part in the special schedule lineup, she said: "What an outstanding International Women’s Day Celebration we had on Friday 8th March! It was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the diverse female talent we have on board and celebrate how their contributions enrich the sound of the station. Super proud!"

Shows featured a host of different topics presented by women of all ages. Some of the after-school club students also provided voices on the airwaves on International Women’s Day.

Maggie Harding, who trains students from local schools, said: " I was so proud to hear the young women we've empowered alongside some seasoned DJs. It was a very strong and inspiring lineup."

All International Women’s Day shows are available to listen again via the station’s website, somervalleyfm.co.uk