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Ex-newsreader warns sexism is still prevalent on television

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By John Glenday, Reporter

January 9, 2013 | 2 min read

Former newsreader Alice Arnold, partner of television presenter Clare Balding, has warned that sexism and ageism are still prevalent within the television industry.

Observing that the medium was still dominated by men of ‘a certain age and appearance’ Arnold claims that equality is being sacrificed on the altar of youth and beauty.

Speaking to the Today programme Arnold, who read the news on BBC Radio 4 for 20 years, criticised the lack of female presenters.

Arnold said: “You look at men of a certain age or appearance who are on TV and think: ‘If you were a woman, you wouldn’t be there’. It’s a constant struggle in a culture that prizes looks and youth so highly, but the BBC needs to stand up and say no.

“I don’t think there are enough female presenters. Out of five broadcasters there is just one; I don’t think that is good enough. It matters because women are at least 50 per cent of the population and are therefore not represented.

“I would suggest sometimes there is a lack of will. I think it just takes someone with a tiny bit of vision. There are loads of women out there who are equally as good as all the men at presenting.

“I hope as a culture we see a shift towards seeing women as intelligent beings, and take more notice of what they say than the shape of their legs."

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