BBC heralds increase in number of female contributors

Simon Austin's picture
BBC Breakfast

The BBC has dramatically increased the number of women who appear on its programmes in the last year, according to Director General Tony Hall.

The ’50:50 Project’ encouraged programme makers to achieve a gender balance in the guests they book, following concerns that men were disproportionately represented on air.

About 70 English-language programmes have been taking part for more than a year. Twelve months ago, 27% of shows were hitting 50:50 gender representation; now the is 74%.

“It’s amazing to see such a remarkable change in just a year; you can see and hear it right across our programming,” said Hall. “I want the BBC to lead the way on equality and fairness, and this project demonstrates what can be achieved.”

BBC Breakfast, From Our Own Correspondent, the Andrew Marr Show, Politics Live and Newsround have been consistently meeting the target, according to the BBC, although Newsnight and some World Service programmes are still struggling.

The data is self-reported and participation in the scheme is voluntary. Programmes only measure the output they control.

BBC audience research found that a third of the public had noticed more female voices in the past year and that one in six people in the 55-plus age bracket said they enjoyed the BBC less as a result. The move was popular with people aged 16-34, however.

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