BBC has 'greater responsibility' than other broadcasters to recruit women in news and current affairs, report says

Peers believe that not enough is being done to enable more women to work in the genre

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The Independent Culture

Broadcasters must do more to recruit women in news and current affairs since current initiatives to do so are failing, a House of Lords report has found.

The BBC in particular has a "greater responsibility" to reflect its audience, the House of Lords Communications Committee said in its report.

The Committee acknowledged that the "fast-paced nature and immediacy of news and current affairs" posed challenges to gender equality.

But peers believe that not enough is being done to enable more women to work in the genre, especially in senior positions.

Lord Best, committee chair, said: "Through this inquiry, it has become clear that there are simply not enough women in news and current affairs broadcasting.

"Although on the surface it appears that women are well represented, the facts tell a different story. We heard, for example, that men interviewed as experts outnumber women 4 to 1 on radio and TV."

Lord Best said working in current affairs posed "additional barriers to women – for example, the fast-paced nature of news which can mean anti-social hours, and freelance work that can make it harder for women with caring responsibilities – the situation is simply not good enough.

"The fact that news has such a wide-reaching audience means that a special effort must be made by broadcasters – public service broadcasters in particular and especially the BBC because of its special status and its dominance as a provider of news and current affairs.

"We were also concerned about the evidence we heard suggesting that discrimination against women, particularly older women, still exists in the industry."

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