BBC chief Lord Hall promises to do more to celebrate women

Director General promises action after he was advised that 15 out of the 18 publicity images in the lobby of the BBC’s £1bn headquarters featured men

Media Editor

Lord Hall, the BBC Director General, has promised to do more to celebrate the contribution of women at the BBC after complaints that the organisation prefers to promote its male presenters.

The Director General promised action after he was advised that 15 out of the 18 publicity images in the lobby of the BBC’s £1 billion New Broadcasting House headquarters featured men. “The balance is not right and it doesn’t reflect the vitally important contribution of women to the BBC,” Lord Hall said in an emailed response to a complainant.

By today, a spot-check of the images in the lobby area – familiar to viewers of the BBC’s recent satirical comedy W1A – showed that the imbalance had been substantially corrected.

Strictly Come Dancing presenter Tess Daly was one of seven women on show, alongside 11 men and a Dalek. “The reception area is a shop window for the BBC. Tony agreed that the publicity needed to better reflect our programmes, so changes are being made.”

The other two women in pride of place in the main lobby were not exactly BBC regulars but the singers Emile Sande and Annie Lennox, who have both recorded music sessions for the Corporation. Outside the nearby Radio Theatre, the BBC was championing its newly married Radio 4 presenter Sandi Toksvig, Absolutely Fabulous stars Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley, and another singer, Paloma Faith.

Lord Hall is determined to introduce cultural change at the BBC and recently decided to scrap the tradition of commissioning painted portraits of its Directors General following criticism that £20,000 of licence fee payers’ money was spent on an image of recent incumbent Mark Thompson. The tradition of painting the DGs only enhanced the notion that the BBC is a patriarchy – none of the 16 people who have held the BBC’s most senior post have been women.

Tackling sex discrimination has been near the top of Lord Hall’s inbox since he became Director General in April last year in the wake of allegations arising from the Savile scandal that sexual abuse and harassment had taken place over many years on BBC premises.

Chris Curtis, editor of Broadcast magazine, said: “This is making small steps but they are giving the message to BBC staff that the DG is serious about changing the culture and that permeates down and can make a difference.”

Early in his time as Director General he clashed with the then Culture Secretary Maria Miller in an exchange of letters over comments made by presenter John Inverdale on the appearance of Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli. While agreeing that the comments were “totally unacceptable” he reminded Ms Miller that the BBC had put in place measures to increase coverage of women’s sport and was conducting a Respect at Work Review to improve working conditions for female staff.

Lord Hall’s comments come in the same week that BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour announced its annual Power List, nominating the ten women who have been the biggest “game changers” in improving British society. The list, headed by Baroness Doreen Lawrence, included Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism project, and Julie Bentley, chief executive of Girlguiding.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Subscriptions and Marketing Assistant

£12500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A subscriptions and marketing a...

Recruitment Genius: Advertising / Media Sales Executive

£15000 - £22200 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious candidate is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Sub-editor - Editorial - Publishing

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A sub-editor is required to joi...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy