Insitutionalised Sexism in BBC News?

Last night the BBC made me very angry.

Just in case you don’t know, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC, is the national broadcasting service for Great Britain.

Great Britain has a population of over 63 million people.

Let’s say that of that 63 million half are women. Let’s even round it down to suggest that 30 million are women and girls.

You’d expect our national broadcaster to give a broad cross representation of all genders, ethnicity and so on. You’d expect it to be fair, wouldn’t you? I would.

saudi-woman-sportHowever, the BBC is not always fair when it comes to older women (check out Miriam O’Reilly on Sexism at BBC). I am particularly interested in how role models for women are presented in the media and the impact this has on us and our confidence in the world at large (check out too, Should Airbrushed Women Be Allowed?). I watch BBC programmes with huge interest. After the recent coverage given to lack of women commentators on current affairs programmes there has been a discernible improvement; during the summer months many more women featured on programmes such as the flagship news programme Newsnight, and I hope it wasn’t just because it was the ‘silly season’ and that the men were all on holiday…

Last night however, the BBC broadcast the news at 10pm ending as usual with its Sports section. It was amazing, but yesterday in the UK, not one sporting event featuring women happened. The poor old BBC had to devote this section entirely to men. Yes, that’s right, just half the population were in the Sports section. Almost all of our printed press often has this problem too – no sportswomen to write about, or women’s sports to feature. Amazing, isn’t it?

Of course, if you do happen to know of any sporting events which were worthy of reporting yesterday, and if they did happen to feature women or girls, maybe you could let the BBC know as it’s clearly relying (literally) on its old boys network for information. It needs some help. and in that spirit I recommend its researchers check out The Women’s Room. And maybe they need some guidelines too? Ooh what could they be? Maybe something like “We’re a national broadcaster so almost all our news broadcasting should reflect the make up of our population?”. It’s just a thought.

PS Apologies, I know sarcasm is lowest from of wit but I am fizzing angry!

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Photo credit: I Googled ‘Women in Sports’ to see if I could find a suitable picture for this post. Amazingly, I got lots of pictures of very young women in bikinis playing basket ball….sighs and puts head in hands! This is the source for the picture I have used: American Bedu, with thanks.


Posted on September 16th, 2013 by

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