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Monday, 2 April 2018

BBC Targets Gender Balance of Expert Contributors

The BBC wants to see a 50/50 split of male/female experts being wheeled out for comment and opinion on its news, current affairs and topical programmes.

The Corporation will introduce monthly monitoring to ensure gender quotas are met, but says it will continue to interview the most relevant person for the story irrespective of their gender.

Research by City University London found there was a 3:1 ratio of male to female expert contributors on BBC news programmes in 2015. The BBC hopes to achieve an equal split by April 2019.

Some BBC staff are said to be sceptical of the new initiative.

Radio 4 presenter Jane Garvey, a leading member of the BBC Women group, said: "It sounds like a half-decent attempt but they are always doing this. It's like the Government - they are always announcing things that are new when they are not. I am not overwhelmed with enthusiasm as I feel have heard it all before."

Sophie Walker, the leader of the Women's Equality party, said: "I suspect this is being trumpeted now in order to divert attention away from the BBC's still unresolved cases of pay discrimination against female employees. If this is not to be seen as another sleight of hand, the BBC must tackle the structured inequality throughout its own organisation."

Tony Hall, BBC Director General, said: "This is a fantastic project that is already driving change. The results from programmes that have taken it up have been remarkable. Adopting it more widely will help transform the range of expert voices across the BBC."

In recent months the BBC has faced considerable criticism over the way it apparently treats its female employees less favourably than their male counterparts. BBC News presenter Carrie Gracie, a fluent Mandarin speaker, resigned her role as China Editor in protest at the fact the BBC's male foreign editors were paid up to 50 percent more.

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Chris_2812 said...

I don't see what difference it makes how "equal" the number of male and female "experts" is, they will probably still use men more than women, even if they had a 70 (women)/30 (men) split. What good is it employing, and subsequently using more tax payer's money, if they're not going to use all those "expert's" knowledge and resources?

Unknown said...

But they still take a majority of women to court for avoiding the tv tax no doubt

Fred Bear said...

Correct, Unknown.
Have a look at this parliamentary publication at:

Paragraph 10 states: "The current collection and enforcement approach has led to more women than men being caught and prosecuted for TV licence fee evasion. In 2015, 70% (133,000) of the 189,000 prosecutions for evasion were against women, up from 64% (70,000 of 110,000 prosecutions) in 2002."

In 1980 it was roughly 50:50