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BBC seeks to achieve 50:50 split in male and female contributors by next year

A report on the broadcaster’s progress will be produced in a year’s time.
Apr 2nd 2018, 11:17 AM 6,892 52

THE BBC HAS said it wants to ensure that an equal number of male and female expert contributors appear on its programmes by April 2019.

The UK broadcaster is seeking to ensure that there is a 50:50 split of expert voices across its airwaves in news, current affairs and a range of topical programmes.

The BBC stressed that it will continue to always interview the relevant minister, official, or organisational representatives appropriate to a story. Rather, the concept is focused on ”expert contributors” who comment or report on events or bring particular expertise to a news story.

A report on the broadcaster’s progress will be produced in a year’s time.

The BBC has recently come under heavy criticism for the gender imbalance on its list of top-paid employees, with a gender pay gap of 9.3%.

In July 2017, the BBC published a list of its top earners, setting out the pay for staff earning more than £150,000, with two-thirds of stars raking in more than that being men.

The decision to aim for 50:50 balance was made on the back of a grassroots project which has already increased the balance of experts of some of BBC’s news programmes.

News programme Outside Source, which is simulcast on the BBC News Channel and BBC World News, adopted the system of self-monitoring in January 2017.

By April last year, the show had achieved a 50:50 gender split which has continued since then.

Over 80 programmes, including The One Show and BBC News at Six, are now taking place in the challenge.

The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One and Radio 4′s File on 4 has seen more than 10% in expert female contributors and reporters.

“This is a fantastic project that is already driving change. The results from programmes that have taken it up have been remarkable. Adopting it more widely will help transform the range of expert voices across the BBC,” Tony Hall, BBC director general said.

Fran Unsworth, BBC director of News, added: “We are starting to see a real transformation across the BBC. But we want to go further and faster.

“The access already delivered demonstrates the desire and commitment of BBC teams to lead the way on this important issue.

That’s why, the BBC is now setting the challenge of all programmes – on both radio and TV – that use expert contributors, to meet a 50:50 split of contributors by April 2019.

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Hayley Halpin

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