Women on TV

A new report commissioned by Channel 4 to celebrate International Women’s day, shows that there is still a distinct gender bias when it comes to women on TV.


If we needed any evidence that femageism is rife in the world of broadcasting this report provides it. On TV only one in 4 in every 10 women are aged over 40. And for every ten men on TV 6 will be aged 40 and over.

‘Soft’ Topics

The study, carried out by Dr Guy Cumberbatch of the Communications Research Group, also found that although women do appear to be well represented on TV across the spectrum, the way they are used is markedly different from the way men appear.

In light entertainment, comedy and drama women make up 4 in every ten participants. In the field of serious broadcasting, Dr Cumberbatch’s team found that women made up only a third in factual programmes. And when it comes to the news, we have only a 31% share!

However, when topics such as health, culture and cookery are covered on the news women feature 69% of the time. Men were much more likely to be discussing the topics of politics, science, international affairs and the economy. And women aren’t even asked to give their views! When it comes to general vox pops, women are asked for their opinions only a third as often as men.


Oona King is Channel 4’s Head of Diversity (once again I ask the question-bearing in mind women actually make up slightly more than half the population –  should we still need to be included under the ‘diversity’ tag?) said:

This pilot research measures the gap between what we see in the real world, and what we see on TV, and is the first step in developing a comprehensive measurement of how well TV represents and portrays different groups on screen. Fundamentally, this is about how we view our world and which groups are hidden from view or significantly under-represented. The gender gap here is quite startling.”

Sadly I am not startled at all. Maybe art is merely imitating life………….


Posted on March 8th, 2010 by

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