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BBC and ITV ranked worst for representing women on news bulletins

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By John Glenday, Reporter

May 19, 2016 | 2 min read

Both the BBC and ITV have come under fire for failing to adequately represent women on their flagship news bulletins with male voices outnumbering females by four to one on each broadcaster’s main evening news slot.

A study conducted by City University found that the BBC was the worst performing broadcaster on this measure with a gender imbalance of 3.8 male experts for every one female, with ITV News faring only slightly better with a ratio of 3.6 to one.

The broadcasters weren’t the only culprits however with Channel 4, Sky and Channel 5 also found to feature at least twice as many men as women on news broadcasts made between October and March.

Despite the ongoing disparities editors have been making efforts to move toward an equal footing for the sexes, improving this particular yardstick from ratios as poor as four to one, as recently as the last monitoring period of May 2014 to September 2015.

City University director of broadcasting, Lis Howell, commented: “This is all moving in the right direction, but BBC News at Ten and ITV News at Ten – the big beasts in the news jungle – still fail to represent women fairly.

“No one is asking them to go for parity,” she said. “In the society we live in it would be impossible. But they could do an awful lot better.”

Whilst talking heads remain overwhelmingly male broadcasters were far more likely to achieve parity with reporters with Channel 5 attaining an even split and Channel 4 and Today achieving a ratio of under two males for every female.

Responding to the report, a BBC spokesperson said: "Increasing female representation on screen is a priority for the BBC and our flagship news programmes Today and News at 10 have seen increases in women reporters.

"We now have women in many of our high profile roles, including Mishal Husain and Sarah Montague on Today and Laura Kuenssberg as political editor, and we’re renewing our initiative to increase the number of women experts who appear on BBC News and elsewhere."

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