BBC watchdog rules in favour of Woman’s Hour after man complains of sexism


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The Independent Culture

The BBC Trust has ruled that Woman’s Hour on Radio 4 is not sexist after it was accused of displaying unfairness to men over several years.

The corporation’s watchdog responded to a complaint from human sociality writer and researcher Steve Moxon whose work was discussed on the programme in December 2012.

Mr Moxon called it "a blot on the BBC" and complained that “Woman’s Hour had over many years displayed unfairness to men”.

He said he had been deliberately misrepresented by Women’s Hour presenter Jane Garvey who interviewed MP Ann McKechin during a programme about a report by Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee entitled Women in the Workplace.

In conversation with the MP Mrs Garvey said Mr Moxon had “made some pretty controversial comments about woman relatively recently, and indeed he told you that he didn’t think that women were capable of being bosses”.

Mr Moxon’s complaint said that he did not describe himself as an academic, as Mrs Garvey suggested, but as a cross-disciplinary researcher/writer on human sociality with regard to the sexes. He said his remarks were meant to address why women only represent a small proportion of those “at the top” and he had not argued that women were incapable of being bosses.

He said that the interview “had not been set up in an impartial way” and also complained that Woman’s Hour had over the years dismissed science research on men and women.

The BBC Trust upheld that while the interviewer’s description of Mr Moxon as “a man who describes himself as an academic” was inaccurate and a breach of its guidelines on fairness, there was no evidence of bias.

It dismissed all four other complaints.