BBC targets contributor gender equality by 2019

The gender balance of BBC contributors will be monitored on a monthly basis

The gender balance of BBC contributors will be monitored on a monthly basis

Monday, April 2, 2018

The BBC has said it is working to ensure there it has an equal number of male and female experts across its programmes by April 2019.

The broadcaster said it is seeking to guarantee there is a 50:50 split in the expert contributors featured on its news, current affairs and topical programmes.

The corporation stressed it will continue to interview the relevant minister, official, or organisational representative appropriate to a story because they are the individuals in charge or are accountable, adding this concept is focused on the experts used to comment or report on events.

The gender balance of those contributors will be monitored on a monthly basis.

It has already disclosed the BBC has a median gender pay gap of 9.3% and pledged to increase the number of women on screen, on air and in lead roles to 50% in 2020.

The challenge to achieve a 50:50 gender balance has already been adopted by a number of BBC programmes.

News show Outside Source, which is simulcast on the BBC news channel and BBC world news, has already achieved a 50:50 gender split after it adopted the system of self monitoring in January 2017.

By April the programme was featuring an even number of men and women.

The challenge has already expanded to more than 80 programmes including The One Show and BBC News at Six and Ten.

The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One and Radio 4's File on 4 have seen a rise of more than 10% in expert female contributors and reporters since recording their figures, the broadcaster said.

Lord Tony Hall, the BBC Director General, said: "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."

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

"The success 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.

"The BBC will produce report on the progress at that time. We can and are delivering change. The BBC is happy to share its experience of this project with other broadcasters and news organisations who might want to adopt a similar approach."