A CALL TO ACTION: Radio 4's Today has only 16% women guests. Time to write in.

(71 Posts)
Bidisha Tue 06-Dec-11 14:03:31

This is a call to action, after Kira Cochrane's Guardian article aboucultural femicide pointed out that the Today programme has only 16% women guests, despite a 50% female listenership. On 5th July there was 1 woman and 27 men. The programme's editor said that the issue of female representation "almost never comes up as an issue from the audience... I suppose it might be two letters a year, or something of that nature."

Last month I received a letter from a dismayed radio listener, who has noticed the ignoring of women at all levels of the media and public life. She specifically mentions Radio 4's Today programme as one of the main perpetrators of cultural femicide. She mentions her many complaints to this and other shows and the way they have largely been ignored. At major speaking events at The Women's Library in London last year and at The Arnolfini in Bristol this year - at a sold out event called Where Are The Women? - countless women approached me and said that they had complained to major media shows including Today and were dismissed, patronisingly rebuffed or ignored.

This, then, is a call to action. On this morning's show on Tuesday 6th December, aside from the presenters (4 'cheps' and a lady), Today had 20 male voices and just 5 actual female lady-women. Yesterday it had 14 men and 7 women. On Friday 2nd December it had 18 men and 6 women. On Thursday 1st December it had 18 men and 3 women. On Wednesday 30th November it had 17 men and 6 women. On Tuesday 29th November it was 18 men and 6 women. Notice, ladies, we never get above 7, and the men never get below 14 - usually much higher actually - and that's not even counting the presenters.

Back on Friday 20th March 2011, Radio 4’s Today programme featured 28 men, including the 2 male presenters, and 1 woman. The previous day they had gone completely mad ...and gave us Ladies’ Day: 7 whole women spoke, including presenter Sue Macgregor, alongside 21 men. The day before that it was a much more acceptable 4 women and 19 men. I have no idea what that spike on Thursday 19th was about. 7 women! Using up the space that men could have occupied! By Friday, thank Patriarchus, He That Knoweth, natural order had been restored.

I have been contacted by Sound Women, a coalition of amazing professional women in radio. They are exhorting women to write to BBC Trust Chairman Chris Patte, and have drafted a form letter, below. Send it to Chris Patten at chris.patten@bbc.co.uk and cc in his assistant june.prunty@bbc.co.uk

We can also keep a log of names and dates sent on this thread, if need be.

Please feel free to adapt and change the letter below, especially if you are a Today/Radio 4 listener, but do not work in the media, and have additional points you’d like to make:

Dear Lord Patten

The Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 has four male presenters and just one woman, Sarah Montague. In addition to this, today it’s been revealed that on average 84% of its guests and reporters are male, and just 16% female.

As [a woman working in the radio industry, and] an avid radio listener, I am deeply disappointed by these figures. If the Today audience is made up of 50-50 men and women, as Today Editor Ceri Thomas claims, then this means that the women in that audience are being under-represented and badly served.

Ceri Thomas also says he receives only two letters of complaint a year, and seems to think this means the audience don’t care about the issue. Well we do care. We don’t always write letters of complaint – sometimes we change to another station or shout at our radio instead – but if it will make a difference then please accept this as a letter of complaint, to which I would greatly appreciate a response.

I know the representation of women on air is an issue you feel strongly about, and have spoken about before. I hope you can encourage the BBC to bring about the change that is needed, and look forward to hearing a more balanced version of the Today programme, with many more female contributors, reporters and presenters very soon.

Thank you for reading this email.


...And thank you for reading that long post, which is a version of an even longer feature giving very damning statistics, here: www.bidisha-online.blogspot.com/2011/12/do-you-like-women-today-today.html

Fingers crossed. Or radios off.

Prolesworth Tue 06-Dec-11 14:27:17

Email sent. Thank you for posting this, Bidisha!

KRITIQ Tue 06-Dec-11 15:55:50

Yes, thank you for the heads up. Here's my version, just emailed:

Dear Lord Patten,

As a long time listener to BBC Radio 4, I am dismayed that the flagship "Today" programme has four men as presenters and only one woman, Sarah Montague. More than half of the UK population is female and I am sure that more than 20% of those who listen to "Today" are women as well. I also read a disturbing figure today showing that only 16% of the programme's guests and reporters are female. Surely the programme could be more representative of its listeners and as a public service broadcaster, take the opportunity to enable women journalists to inspire and encourage the next generation of journalists by their example.

I understand that the BBC has not received many letters or emails of complaint regarding the proportion of Radio 4 presenters, reporters and guests that are female, which may create the impression that listeners are happy with the current arrangements. However, it may also be that listeners are "voting with their ears," and no longer listening to Radio 4, preferring to access news and features from other radio stations or the internet. In any case, as a public service broadcaster, I would as a citizen expect the BBC to be more proactive in featuring presenters, reporters and guests that reflect the diversity of the population within the UK. Efforts to at least achieve something of a gender balance would be a step in the right direction.

I would encourage you to use your position to influence change within the BBC to offer more opportunities for women journalists and to provide a service which reflects the community served. I would be grateful if you could respond with any action being taken or proposed to achieve a fairer balance of men and women as presenters, reporters, guests and "behind the scenes," at Radio 4 and elsewhere within the BBC.

Many thanks for your assistance and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Tue 06-Dec-11 16:28:45

Thanks will do - have just emailed via the Today feedback form but frankly don't hold out much hope for that.

TheRealTillyMinto Tue 06-Dec-11 17:11:25

I used the Today feedback form to say:

"I have been enjoying Radio 4 & Today since I was 11 yrs old (which is a long time ago now) but please have more women.

It stinks that you don’t. Now that it has been pointed out, I won’t enjoy your program as much. The BBC's licence fee means you need to be better than other media. Otherwise what's the point of the Beeb?"

I had already used the form on the website, but will email these addresses too when I get off the phone. If they. are reassuring themselves that no one really minds because no one complains, do you think these emails will change their attitudes? That is all it takes, right? oh I am such a cynic! I will email every day for the .ext few weeks, see if I get a response.

Takver Tue 06-Dec-11 19:04:14

Many thanks for this prompt. I've just started working my way through the BBC 'History of the World in 100 Objects' and have been shocked by the lack of women in the early episodes. Oh, apart from the introducer who gets to say "Today's object is . . ." who reminds me alarmingly of the 'book' from Hitchhiker's Guide. It feels like women are ok in their place as 'pretty voices', but that's about it.

Will also write about Today.

The sad thing is that in general I would say Radio 4 are better than most of the media (where else would you get a serious programme about post natal psychosis presented by a woman who has suffered from it, and mainly made up of the voices of other women giving their experiences).

Takver Tue 06-Dec-11 19:06:30

blackcurrants, I think it does make a difference, I remember years back (late 90s) when a woman on Thought for the Day was incredibly offensive about gay people, writing in and thinking 'oh they'll just ignore it' - they had their biggest number of complaints ever apparantly, and it was a really big issue. So it does make a difference if enough people do it.

smallwhitecat Tue 06-Dec-11 19:07:15

Message withdrawn

HalfMumHalfBiscuit Tue 06-Dec-11 19:10:59

Used the Today form.

alexpolismum Tue 06-Dec-11 19:18:31

While I do think it's good that people are complaining to Today, I can't help thinking that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Should we also be complaining to a long list of other programmes? Or to the BBC/ other channels in general? Is there anything else we should be doing?

I can't help feeling that they will just put a few more women on Today for a month or two until this has blown over, and then revert to normal, with all the other programmes that have equally inadequate female representation making no changes at all.

Or am I just too pessimistic?

ElderberrySyrup Tue 06-Dec-11 19:24:00

gotta start somewhere Alex!
And Today is a flagship program.

Thing is, if one program gets really behind it, then that can help with all the other programs too - they can share their techniques and approaches for attracting women guests with makers of other programs. And if one of the issues is women refusing because they're not confident enough, then giving airtime to women who have never done it before will enable those women to go on to do it on other programs.

I think this is a well-targeted campaign. I sent a message via the form on the website yesterday, but will do one to Chris Patten later tonight.

msrisotto Tue 06-Dec-11 19:30:45

Done. What a dumbass is Ceri Thomas if he doesn't realise that we just won't listen to radio programmes that neglect us? It takes effort to write in to complain and for every one person who bothers, there must be a hundred who don't!

alexpolismum Tue 06-Dec-11 20:09:02

Fair point, Elderberry.

I'm not in the UK (although this country is in dire need of a strong dose of feminism!), but I do sometimes listen to Radio 4 via the internet, so perhaps I should get on the case!

ElderberrySyrup Tue 06-Dec-11 20:10:13

I think a letter from an overseas listener would be really good Alex smile

EleanorRathbone Tue 06-Dec-11 20:12:51

takver - that was Anne Atkins
Who has gone from strength to strength
I e-mailed the fuckers today
At Today

NormaSparklerFlashBangAhhh Tue 06-Dec-11 20:20:28

Marking place.

I have been a listener for 30 years +

AlwaysWild Tue 06-Dec-11 20:25:27

Done - the only 2 letters a year statement was red rag to a bull grin

TiggyD Tue 06-Dec-11 20:31:07

Who are the guests on the Today programme? MPs? People high up in businesses? Religious leaders? Sports people? I think one of the reasons why there are more men on the show is that there are more men in the positions that are wanted for interviews. The statistics of the Today programme might be misleading due to sexism elsewhere.

AlwaysWild Tue 06-Dec-11 20:33:04

Have a listen Tiggy. No it's not just the types of people you listed.

TiggyD Tue 06-Dec-11 20:34:33

Never actually listened to it!

EleanorRathbone Tue 06-Dec-11 20:35:48

Quite often they're just common or garden commentators.

Well women can sit there chatting about what x means for the economy/ politics/ culture/ society just as much as men can.

Currently of course, they are too scared to have unqualified women sitting there pontificating about stuff they aren't experts in because everyone would indignantly ask what qualifications they have to comment. No-one ever asks what qualifications the male contributors have.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Wed 07-Dec-11 10:16:46

Excellent point, Eleanor.

Also, IME journos/producers are lazy, so if they want find someone to interview about e.g. radiotherapy they will look for people who have already been interviewed about it elsewhere. If someone's been on Today, then others will then feel they can use them as an "expert".

I know the presenter thing has sort of been left to one side, this time, but there is no earthly reason why there should only be one female presenter on Today. There are just LOADS of excellent female journalists and presenters. Ditch the Dimblebys altogether and let the two Questions programmes be presented by Samira Ahmed or Stephanie Flanders (if they want to).

alexpolismum Wed 07-Dec-11 18:07:39

Just wondering if anyone has had any replies to emails?

AlwaysWild Wed 07-Dec-11 19:33:31

I had an out of office from June. Nothing from Chris do far.

msrisotto Wed 07-Dec-11 20:01:53

No reply here either.

AlwaysWild Fri 09-Dec-11 08:31:45

I think I got my reply today. It's a long reply, lasts about 3 hours and you have to read between the lines.

Today's Today schedule I think means 'we don't give a shit' and if I wasn't certain the 'fuck you, what have women got to do with abortion anyway' at 7.50* confirmed it.

"According to a major survey carried out under the auspices of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, concern that abortions may lead to serious mental health problems has been put into question. Prof Tim Kendall, who wrote the report based on the survey, and Dr Peter Saunders, chief executive of the Christian Medical Fellowship, discuss the findings."

ElderberrySyrup Fri 09-Dec-11 08:55:48

I was just going to come on and post about the abortion one - that was classic.

Three men pontificating about abortion. Women's bodies, women's lives - and men are the supposed experts.

HalfMumHalfBiscuit Fri 09-Dec-11 09:21:06

Me too on the abortion discussion. Simply apalling that no women were included.

Angry at the programme and not enjoying it anymore.

ElderberrySyrup Fri 09-Dec-11 11:19:41

done me letter to Chris Patten now.

Posted Bidisha's blog on my local feminist network too, to help get the word out.

ElderberrySyrup Fri 09-Dec-11 11:27:08

Written from the heart:

'Dear Lord Patten

I am writing to complain about the under-representation of women on the BBC, and in particular, the BBC's otherwise excellent flagship morning program, Today.

I have been spurred into writing to you by the appalling fact that a discussion about some new research into abortion and its impact on women's mental health (which, as I hardly need to tell you, is something that impacts most on women) involved a male presenter talking to two men with not a single woman asked for her opinion. This was disgraceful.

In the light of the recent research by Kira Cochrane, of which I am sure you are now aware, showing that the Today program has a shockingly low 16% female reporters and guests, this sadly comes as no surprise. Today is not a special interest men's program, about motor racing or men's health or men's football or something that statistically you might expect men to be more interested in than women. It is a program about a wide range of current affairs which affect women's life as much as men's.

Women are as well-informed as men, they are as intelligent, they are as articulate. If you have trouble booking women guests from the obvious sources of senior members of organisations and those in public life, you need to look harder. Look for guests with personal experience, look lower down the ranks of organisations and find those women who are working below the level of their ability and expertise because higher level posts were closed to them after a career break. Look among the many articulate and popular woman bloggers. If you are short of woman reporters then you must recruit and train them.

I switch off the Today program (my husband switches it on!) because it is really just the Blokes Today program. I do this with more and more BBC programs these days. I don't believe men are the only holders of wisdom, so I look elsewhere for the voices of the rest of humanity.

Incidentally, this reaction is carrying through to my children, your future viewers and listeners. My daughter -- --, then aged 5, noticed last year that the majority of programs on CBeebies featured male main characters. On the day on which she counted (it was a Saturday morning), she watched 10 shows in a row before she came across one that did not have a boy as the main character. She wrote to CBeebies to ask why this was and never received a reply. On discovering how many more dominant and interesting girl characters there were on Milkshake, she decided to switch over - since then we have been a Milkshake household rather than a CBeebies one!

In the light of that, I admit I am sceptical about Ceri Thomas' claim that he only receives two letters a year complaining about the underrepresentation of women on Today. I wonder if letters were written but lost or filed by people lower down the organisation who did not consider them important enough to bring to his attention (which I assume is what happened to ----'s CBeebies letter). In any case, it might be a good idea to encourage staff in all areas of the BBC to take complaints about this issue seriously.

What I would really like to see would be a thoroughgoing inquiry into sexism at the BBC. As a publicly funded organisation I believe you have a responsibility to all your viewers and listeners, not just those who dominate public life.

Many thanks for taking this issue seriously. I appreciate your continued commitment to this issue, but I believe we urgently need to see change.

Yours sincerely,

Elderberry Syrup (Dr)

alexpolismum Fri 09-Dec-11 14:42:41

Very nice, considered letter, Elderberry. I wonder if you will get such a considered response.

I have written an email as an overseas listener (no reply/ acknowledgement as yet), and I have got my mum in the UK to write in too. She says she is complaining about underrepresentation of women on the BBC as a whole, not just on Today.

AlwaysWild Fri 09-Dec-11 17:29:43

They didn't reply to your daughter?! sad

ElderberrySyrup Fri 09-Dec-11 17:32:31

no, and she wrote it all by herself and insisted on spelling everything right. Bastards.
Next time a child of mine writes a letter to a public body I will send it by bloody recorded delivery.

vesuvia Fri 09-Dec-11 17:59:32

Don't get me started on the Today programme!

The lack of women on that programme is scandalous. The exclusively male discussion about abortion, unwanted pregnancy and women's mental health was just the latest in a very long line of exclusions of women on Today.

I think professionalism has taken a nose-dive on the Today programme. I've noticed over the last year or so, that the presenters are increasingly spending their air time joking, larking about, guffawing, etc. There's a time and a place for larking about and banter but I don't think the BBC's flagship news programme should be it. I'd prefer them to stop the mucking about and spend their time and earn their money considering some issues from a female perspective and/or women contributors instead.

falasportugues Sat 10-Dec-11 22:00:19

I am heartened by the action taking place re: today programme.... really gets my goat when they posture at seriusly questioning the politicians, i turn over to radio 7, which at that time is 'classic comedy' with some really dire stereotypes on. then what about women's hour? patronising and superficial. gaaaaahhhh hmm

slug Sat 10-Dec-11 22:12:17

I tweet most days on the proportion of male to female stories in the sports pages. I just do a quick count on my way into work. wouldn't believe how much it winds up some people. hmm

ElderberrySyrup Sat 10-Dec-11 22:16:53

you mean how much people get wound up by the mere fact that you count? grin

I used to have a subscription to the LRB around 12 years ago. Once they printed a letter complaining about how few articles by women there were (one or two an issue, usually).... and the following issue, there were some amazingly angry letters saying how stupid that letter had been. There was the usual 'you are clearly not busy enough if you have time to waste counting articles by men and women' - I mean, fgs, how long does it to count 15 or so author names on the contents page, would take me well under a minute....

Hardgoing Wed 14-Dec-11 12:49:10

I posted this comment on the invisibility thread- but the sheer quantity of women was so striking on Newsnight last night, I wonder if all these emails are having a behind-the-scenes effect? Emily Maitles was the presenter and in each segment, on the EU 'non' by Cameron, on the CERN collider and on the graphs of the economic mess, pretty much every guest was female (e.g. the Science Correspondent, the three economists). And the content, particularly by the economists was excellent, proving that once some of these incredibly knowledgable women do get visibility, they do very well.

So- is it a deliberate policy on Newsnight, co-incidence? Fear of the MN feminist board? Or are they just more enlightened at Newsnight than Today (perfectly plausible)?

AlwaysWild Wed 14-Dec-11 13:27:12

Well I noticed this AM on Today they had a discussion about DV and three whole women were allowed to speak without a male accompaniment at all. Of course who knows what was going on behind the scenes, and they may even just be using some voice 'feminising' technology.

Prolesworth Wed 14-Dec-11 17:54:11

Has anyone had a reply from Chris Patten yet? I haven't.

Tenebrist Wed 14-Dec-11 18:04:47

Email sent, but I was feeling lazy and just c+p the one bidisha gave in the OP. If Ceri Thomas is saying he only gets two complaints a year, wouldn't it be a good idea to write to him as well as Chris Patten?

msrisotto Wed 14-Dec-11 18:37:38

No I haven't had a response either.

AlwaysWild Mon 19-Dec-11 07:50:41

Well they've excelled themselves so far today.

Item about Korea, introduced speaker from
Seoul's women's university. Ears pricked up. But no, they'd managed to find a man from the women's university to speak.

Then item about married tax allowance and whether we were going back to the 50s. Man came on and talked about changing role of women vis a vis their income and tax.

ElfenorRathbone Tue 20-Dec-11 07:46:09

Right, will e-mail in about that AW

I think we all should, every time they do it.

Meglet Tue 20-Dec-11 07:57:59

BBC2 showed 2 University Challenges last night. Out of 16 panellists, 2 were women. If my maths is right that's 12% hmm.

SkaterGrrrrl Tue 20-Dec-11 17:02:38

Dear Lord Patten

I am the mother of a baby daughter and a passionate fan of Radio 4. I listen to Radio 4 mainly for the female presenters who are, to my mind, your greatest assets.

The Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 has four male presenters and just one woman, Sarah Montague. This is so disappointing. I want my daughter to grow up thinking that she matters as much as men do. Seeing and hearing women represented equally in the media is a huge part of this. If Radio 4 with all its awareness and intelligence can’t get it right, what hope for the other stations?

I know the representation of women on air is an issue you feel strongly about, and have spoken about before. I hope you can encourage the BBC to bring about the change that is needed, and look forward to hearing a more balanced version of the Today programme, with many more female contributors, reporters and presenters very soon.

Thank you for reading this email.


AlwaysWild Tue 20-Dec-11 19:04:02

Guest editors over the festive period, 4 men 2 women. Now there was a chance to at least go 50/50. I can't see any excuses for that one.

SkaterGrrrrl Wed 11-Jan-12 14:49:40

I have just received a reply.

"Dear Ms SkaterGrrrrl

Thank you for your email to Lord Patten, Chairman of the BBC Trust. I am responding on his behalf as a member of the BBC Trust Unit which advises and supports the Chairman and Trustees.

I note your concerns about representation of women on BBC Services and on the Today programme.

I can assure you that equality is an issue that the BBC Executive and the Trust takes very seriously and, as you may be aware, it’s the Chairman’s view that there should be more women both on radio and television.

However, the role of the Chairman, and of the Trust, is distinct from that of the BBC Executive. Day-to-day editorial and operational decisions, such as the selection of presenters and contributors to the Today Programme for example, are rightly the responsibility of the BBC Executive and ultimately the Director General as Editor-in-Chief.

I have therefore forwarded your email to BBC Audience Services so that they can respond to your comments on behalf of the BBC’s management.

I hope this will be helpful, and I thank you for bringing your views to our attention.

Yours sincerely
John Hamer
BBC Trust Unit"

SkaterGrrrrl Wed 11-Jan-12 14:51:19

And also this one:

Dear SkaterGrrrrl

Thank you for contacting us.

Your e-mail has been passed to us by the BBC Trust as it relates to matters which, in the first instance, are the responsibility of the BBC's management. Under the BBC's Royal Charter, the Trust has the distinct role of setting high-level strategic and editorial frameworks, but responsibility for day to day decisions within them rests with BBC management, so your correspondence has therefore been forwarded to us to respond to on their behalf.

We also apologise for the delay in replying to your e-mail. We realise that our correspondents appreciate a quick response and we’re sorry that you had to wait on this occasion.

I’m happy to read that you enjoy the standards set by female presenters but I understand you’re concerned because you believe there were more male presenters on the occasion you contacted us than female presenters.

The BBC is committed to equal opportunities for all, irrespective of ethnic or national origins, gender, marital status, sexuality, disability or age. In selecting presenters, actors, and other contributors for our programmes (and staff to work at the BBC) we aim to employ those with the most suitable talents for the role.

However we appreciate that you may continue to feel that there weren’t enough female contributors and I'd also like to assure you that I've registered your complaint on our Audience Log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that’s made available to all BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive board, channel controllers and other senior managers.

The Audience Logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions on future BBC programmes and content.

Once again, thank you for contacting us.

Kind Regards

Philip Young
BBC Complaints

scottishmummy Tue 17-Jan-12 22:33:16

Disagree,want quality intellectual guests not ratio just to keep balance
Have no desire to see tokenistic women guests just because it superficially appears to address perceived imbalance

aviatrix Tue 17-Jan-12 22:36:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

edam Tue 17-Jan-12 22:37:09

That's arse about tit, Scottishmummy. There wouldn't be 84% of male guests and only one female presenter if talent, ability, charisma, ideas were the qualifications needed to get on. Unless you think men are cleverer and more interesting than women?

Fact is we know Today is a patriarchy - the editor, cheerfully admitted it when he said the reason there's only one female presenter is that women just aren't good enough for his show. AND had the cheek to defend his comments. If he'd said the same thing about race or sexuality, he'd have been sacked. But hey, it's only women, so apparently it's fine by the Beeb.

scottishmummy Tue 17-Jan-12 22:41:46

Gender is guarantee of Intellect or ability
Male guest not necessarily good speaker
Female guest not necessarily good speaker
If you want to appease self that job done because a token women's on r4, well that's missing a trick and settling easily for superficiality

edam Tue 17-Jan-12 22:45:27

here's the original row about Ceri Thomas claiming women weren't good enough to work on his show. His pathetic argument being that women are 'novices' - as if journalism was only opened to women five minutes ago, ffs!

edam Tue 17-Jan-12 22:47:43

We are saying the same thing but reaching opposite conclusions, Scottishmummy. Agreed, gender doesn't predict whether someone has something interesting to say. That's exactly why such an extreme gender imbalance is wrong.

edam Tue 17-Jan-12 22:50:06

Dunno whether you've read all the thread, but see the comments near the start about the discussion on abortion which featured an entirely male guest & presenter combo - fgs, how much clearer can the editor make his disdain for women? If the show was normally OK then you could excuse it by saying 'maybe they were just a bit pushed for guests' but it's clearly part of a very nasty pattern.

scottishmummy Tue 17-Jan-12 22:51:35

I dislike superficial appeasing by quota
Fucking hate speak your weight female tv presenters,yet some would infer I should be glad/grateful fir female presence on tv

I want capable,clever,smart women in media.not a token nod to appease me.oh look there's a lassie.battle won

aviatrix Tue 17-Jan-12 22:51:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

scottishmummy Tue 17-Jan-12 23:00:00

Why is there so many speak your weight female tv presenters
Less prominent presence of eye candy males
Def more female eye candy on tv.that's not progress imo

Giyadas Tue 17-Jan-12 23:12:06

Having such a small number of women gives the impression of them being token women. Having an equal number of women to men helps put a stop to tokenism.
It's very easy to find one 'speak your weight' woman who can be used as tokenism, while not changing the dynamic of male dominance. Much harder to make up 50% women, all prepared to play handmaidens.

AlwaysWild Thu 19-Jan-12 07:53:56

A treat this morning. Some neurosexism idiot was on telling us how women are bad at maths because they like pink or berries or have wombs or something. He'd done some work to 'prove' those silly other researchers 'wrong'. (he must be so proud)

It was wonderful when they speculated why on earth less women could possibly be winning the maths equivalent of the Nobel prize. Cos after all this is so unique to maths now isn't it hmm

Anyway, strangely they managed on this occasion to find a woman to speak. I think she was a policy maker who did stuff to try and tackle the problem. And she dutifully said how we must listen to the clever clever man, although at the end saying she hoped this wouldn't stop us tackling the problem.

If only there was some kind of widely known female debunking neurosexism academic expert they could have used. Imagine. One that writes books and stuff. One that had even been on mumsnet webchat. I can dream eh cordelia fine

AlwaysWild Wed 25-Jan-12 08:50:23

So this morning, first thing, Jim mentioned that Ed Vaizey had yesterday highlighted the lack of women on Today. His tone was disparaging and said something along the lines of 'well we'll have to tell ministers they're not allowed on unless they're women', met with the chuckle of Evan. Funny how he managed to miss the point and trot out the standard derail. hmm

He then proudly said here's the first of our women, passed over to a women reporter for one feature, and then we had the usual trail of men (not all ministers, of course.)

An interesting insight to what the people who make the programme are actually thinking, rather than the claims that they are 'aware' and 'try'. hmm

vesuvia Wed 25-Jan-12 12:32:27

AlwaysWild wrote - "His tone was disparaging and said something along the lines of 'well we'll have to tell ministers they're not allowed on unless they're women', met with the chuckle of Evan."

For an (alleged) news programme, there is a too much personal opinion and judgement by the presenters. Such behaviour does not exactly enhance BBC News' claims to impartiality and professionalism.

jacobaz Wed 25-Jan-12 12:34:20

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

AlwaysWild Wed 25-Jan-12 13:49:19

I listen usually to the whole programme, and I find first thing in the morning their personal disdain is far more overt. It's like they let the professionalism slide when they think people aren't listening, or something.

aviatrix Wed 25-Jan-12 15:27:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

messyisthenewtidy Wed 25-Jan-12 18:42:03

"The culture minister, Ed Vaizey, has said he will seek a meeting with the BBC after telling the House of Commons that 84% of the guests and presenters on Radio 4's Today programme are men. A lack of women was a cause for concern, he told the Telegraph."

This is from the following article on the Levenson inquiry into the sexualization of women in the media. So a bit of hope then.

QuickLookBusy Wed 25-Jan-12 19:03:58

I heard some of Women's Hour yesterday when they were discussing the Levenson inquiry into the sexualization of women in the media.

Jenny Murry read out some examples of this

A gang raping of two 12 year old girls in a park at midnight, was portrayed in the media as being the girls fault for being out in the middle of the night.

Another example was of a woman who was murdered by her violent H, the papers headlines were that he did it because she changed her FB status to "single". So it was the womans behaviour that had caused the mans' violence.

A professor of Journalism, Roy Greenslade tried to argue that men had always used violence against women, they had been doing it for 100s of years, so the media couldn't be blamed angry

Let's hope the people at the Levinson inquiry are a bit less stupid.

messyisthenewtidy Wed 25-Jan-12 19:15:03

To me, it's not solely about whether media sexualization causes violence against women (although obviously that's incredibly important). It's also about the realization that dawns upon young women that what they are most valued for, and most visible for in the public domain, is their looks. It's kinda depressing to say the least.

masuki Sun 29-Jan-12 19:37:05

i have just whizzed off an email and a Today comment across... outrageous!

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