Here’s What You Missed at International Women’s Podcast Awards 2023

Nov 10th

The winners of the International Women’s Podcast Awards 2023 were announced at a ceremony in London on Monday evening. Created by Naomi Mellor of Everybody Media, the IWPAs aim to raise the profile of women and diverse genders within the podcast industry worldwide.

Now in its third year, the event continues to grow, pulling in people, entries and sponsors from further afield. This year was the second time the ceremony took place at The Conduit, a collaborative community space near Covent Garden that accommodated a crowd of nearly 200.

I (Francesca) was at the event and met up with Amber, who was one of the judges for the awards and representing Content Is Queen on the night. You can see a short video of her evening over on Instagram (she enjoyed the gorgeous nibbles, drinks and atmosphere!).

This year’s event was once again hosted by Deborah Frances-White of The Guilty Feminist podcast, and her scripted jokes about sanitary towels (and jokes about the Tories and Brexit that were, by her own admission, not vetted beforehand) hit a receptive audience. But it was the solidarity of shared experiences that got the biggest cheers. Questions like “who’s a leader? Who’s tired?” met agreement across the room.

Representing Diverse Genders

Although the name of the awards highlights the passion for women podcasters, the tagline of the awards has been changed to ‘the women and people of diverse genders’. The IWPAs have been inclusive of non-binary and trans identities from the start, and clarified this in the award criteria in previous years.

This change in wording for the tagline makes this more explicitly clear. Guests at the event could pick-up badges from the entrance saying “ask me my pronouns”, which is a small touch they have offered each year.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on Display

Naomi has previously told Content Is Queen that the goal of the awards is accessibility, and this ethos was evident at the event. Despite the open bar and nibbles, entry fees and ticket prices were relatively low. This is in part thanks to the bursary funds from Amazon Music, Wondery and Mint & Co that the IWPAs continue to cultivate.

Refreshingly, the application process for bursary tickets to the event was a simple and very quick form and a “no questions asked” acceptance that circumstances that might require a complimentary ticket.

DEI was not a cursory part of the event, but was on display. One of the event’s consultants, Sylvie Carlos was highlighted earlier in the year on social media as a consultant with a focus on equity and inclusion, and was thanked publicly on the night.

There are still areas where inclusivity could be increased to ensure more people can feel comfortable. With the music and lighting in particular, sensory overload was an issue for some people. The IWPA team had the Ubuntu Lounge on the 3rd floor and the podcast studio on the 2nd floor as designated quiet spaces if people needed, but these were not made as obvious as they could have been. Naomi said to us via email “myself and the team are aware of the importance of highlighting and emphasising these spaces better for those that might make use of them next year”.

Content Is Queen has always championed the fact that inclusion is a process, not an outcome, and we look forward to seeing the process and development in the future.

Award Winners

When the awards started in 2021, there were a modest eight categories. This year, eleven winners were announced, with two new categories – ‘Moment of Compelling Storytelling’ and ‘Moment of Podcasting Panache in a Language Other Than English’.

Except for the final award, (presented by a representative of sponsor Shure) all the awards were presented by wonderful producers and leaders in the audio space, who we’ve noted by each award.

Moment of Behind-the-Scenes Brilliance
Presented by Chloe Straw

Winner – Spygate
Runner-up – Freeway Phantom

Moment of Comedy Gold
Presented by Lily O’Farell

Winner – Sanctum Unmasked
Runner-up – Single Sounds

Moment of Compelling Storytelling
Presented by Meera Kumar

Winner – Unreformed: The Story of the Alabama Industrial School for Negro Children
Runner-up – Discovery: In Search of Stardust

Moment of Dramatic Tension
Presented by Katrina Ridley

Winner – How To Become a Dictator
Runner-up – British Scandal

Moment of Entrepreneurial Inspiration
Presented by Naomi Mellor

Winner – The Black Kitchen Series: Innovators
Runner-up – Modern Persian Food

Moment of Insight From a Role Model
Presented by Jaja Muhammad

Winner – Feminist Files
Runner-up – Threshold
Runner-up – Celebrity Catch-up: Life After That Thing I Did

Moment of Podcasting Panache in a Language Other Than English
Presented by Talia Augustidis

Winner – Costa Nostra
Runner-up – Réparations

Moment of Raw Emotion
Presented by Mathilda Mallinson

Winner – Linda Marigliano’s Tough Love
Runner-up – 2 Lives
Runner-up – Nobody should believe me

Moment of Touching Honesty
Presented by Megan Bradshaw

Winner – Get Birding
Runner-up – Bitter/Sweet

Moment of Visionary Leadership
Presented by Leanne Alie

Winner – The Ten News
Runner-up – The Negotiators

Award For Changing The World One Moment At A Time
Presented by Jack Drury from Shure

Winner – The TMI Project Story Hour
Runner-up – Wander

Congratulations to all the winners and to everyone behind the event for a great evening. When the hosts of the Top 25 podcasts in the UK are majority white, straight and male, the global success of this event is testament to the talent out there that just needs to be championed. As the awards hashtag says #WeHaveThingsToSay. Here’s to next year’s awards!