Men still outnumber women by four to one on UK TV and radio news bulletins
Women were least likely to appear on Radio 4's Today programme
Men still outnumber women by a ratio of four to one on UK radio and TV news bulletins, a new study has found.
Despite efforts in recent years to reverse the trend, researchers at City University found that there are still at least three male reporters for every one female.
Of all the news programmes analysed, including Radio 4’s Today programme, BBC News at 10, ITV News at 10, Channel 4 news and Sky News, listeners were least likely to hear a woman speak on the Today programme.
Despite Mishal Husain’s appointment to the flagship show host last July, the vast majority of guest speakers and interviewees on the programme were still found to be male.
But the programme has shown slight improvement since 2012, when listeners could go an hour without hearing a female voice.
“The Today programme between 6am and 7am still has the worst ratio of any programme monitored in any category for the representation of women,” the survey said. “It has just over three males on air to every female.”
Mishal Husain is an anomaly among a white male-dominated industry
Former Countryfile presenter Miriam O’Reilly, who fought ageism at the BBC and won in 2011, told The Independent that attitudes towards women in the media were still “shocking and dire”.
“There are some tremendous women out there who should be made more visible but are still not getting equal representation on these programmes,” she said.
“The men are prominent, promoted and given opportunities that women are not. Mostly, that’s to do with the fact that men are in charge and they don’t take women seriously.”
A BBC spokesperson insisted that the representation of women on air is a “priority” that the broadcaster has been “working hard to achieve”.
O'Reilly won a landmark ageism victory against the BBC in 2011 "With Mishal Husain we now have two women presenters on the programme and have made consistent progress with our number of female contributors, although we recognise that there is still room for improvement,” it said.
Husain, a non-white Muslim, is an anomaly in an industry dominated by white men aged 30 to 50.
“I don’t understand it,” O’Reilly continued. “The BBC says it’s reaching out to women, but why are the women still not there? We’re hearing a lot and not seeing any action and we’re tired of it. We have a voice and we are going to use that voice to bring about change.”
Last month, Professor Mary Beard, a fellow of the University of Cambridge’s all-female Newnham College, suggested that female broadcasters must copy the deep tones of their male colleagues to succeed in radio.
Classics academic and TV presenter Mary Beard “My sense is that lower register voices are perceived as more authoritative. Listening to Radio 4 suggests that,” she said. “Some of these are 'natural'. I suspect, but don’t know, that when those voices aren’t natural, women in public positions get encouraged, as Margaret Thatcher was, to go down a register.”
Former Today programme presenter Sue MacGregor added her view that you “do have to be careful not to come across as high-pitched, shrill or squeaky” on the radio.
“It helps for women who read the news to have a voice which is easy on the ear but I can’t think of any current women on the radio who have unusually deep or ‘male’ voices,” she said.
City University’s report follows the BBC’s recent ban on “unacceptable” all-male comedy panels.
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 5 Baby rescued 1km out to sea after parents forgot about her
Bad luck, One Direction: Paul McCartney doubts success of The Beatles will ever be matched again
This is surely the best way to watch Jaws
The Crystal Maze: Richard O’Brien confirmed to return as more details revealed about show's rebooted format
James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
Guillaume Tell's gang-rape scene caused uproar at the Royal Opera House – but the portrayal of extreme sex and violence on stage is nothing new
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture