Camilla Mankabady: Another top female journalist quits BBC to join ITV

Ms Mankabady was the programme editor of ‘BBC News at Ten’

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The BBC’s attempts to promote senior female journalists have suffered another blow after a senior programme editor of the BBC News at Ten bulletin resigned to join rival ITV.

Camilla Mankabady was a prominent figure in the newsroom and had led the BBC’s coverage of a series of big stories this year including the centenary of the First World War, the D-Day landings and the Commonwealth Games.

Her departure comes 24 hours after the education editor, Penny Marshall, quit to rejoin ITV News without having appeared on air for the BBC.

Earlier this week, the House of Lords Communications Committee was told that female journalists at the BBC were forced to act “more male than the men in news”. The former Countryfile presenter Miriam O’Reilly provided a dossier of evidence from other senior BBC female journalists who claimed to have been maltreated because of their age.

It is understood that James Harding, the BBC’s director of news and current affairs, fought hard to persuade Mankabady, who has previously edited the BBC’s 6pm and 1pm bulletins, to stay. She is joining ITV News as programme editor.

Marshall also gave evidence to the Lords inquiry into women in broadcasting and described herself as part of “the rare breed of women in television who [are] over 50”. She told the committee: “I’m kind of like the last woman standing.” Announcing her departure, she said: “I am very proud to be rejoining my impressive colleagues in the ITV newsroom with a general election approaching, when social affairs will be centre stage of the national debate.”

The BBC has denied it discriminates against female journalists, pointing out that “nearly half of the BBC’s news and current-affairs workforce is female”. It added that 37.3 per cent of leadership positions in network news and 35.1 per cent in global news are held by women.