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BBC radio 4 programme 23rd Jan 2013 at 16.30 ‘The Media Show’ on

‘Why aren’t there more women on radio and TV as experts, commentators and presenters?’

BBC Radio 4 Jan 25th 10 a.m.‘Women’s Hour’

A group of men in the computer Industry signed a pledge to say that they will boycott any conference in their field where there are no women speakers. Also on the programme was a discussion of buildings and streets named after women. E.g. Are there enough and if not, why not?

BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour (podcast) Sept. 27th 2012

Producers of radio phone-ins, such as ‘Any Answers’, say female participation is much lower than male although research indicates female interest in the topics is just as high. The programme also featured an American academic who had researched female contributions to discourse such as meetings, panels etc. Female contributions are high only in female-only forums. Apparently women do not just speak or just pick up the phone; they spend quite a bit of time asking themselves first if their contribution is useful, if they have anything different to say etc. The moment has often passed by the time they decide it is worth their phoning or speaking, so then they can’t and don’t contribute. Another brake is apparently their feeling that they must have justification as well as opinion, whereas men are more likely to phone in or speak with only an opinion.




Mixed links

Mary Beard on BBC Radio 4 ‘Question Time’ commented that immigrants to her home town of Boston, Lincolnshire had brought some benefits. Since the programme, not only trolls but quite a few journalists have vilified her. The focus of their attack has not been so much on her views but that she’s a woman and the way she looks.  The vitriol then increased when she responded to them (very reasonably and calmly), rather than rolling over quietly and gracefully!  One journalist thought up a competition for the ‘Worst Woman ever on Question Time’, (no mention of the worst man).

Here are some interesting links:

TED Talk 2010 Sheryl Sandberg

Web site

There was an interesting article on ‘Leaning In’ and ‘Leaning Out’ in The Financial Times, Life and Arts section, page 1. (April 20th 2013)

Letter to the BBC from Tessa Munt MP

(Munt sent out the letter below to all those involved in the 2013 interviews for the position of Director General at the BBC.)

‘Dear XXX,Discrimination at the BBC – Women On RadioI am writing to you as one of those who have the responsibility of deciding who should become the next Director General of the BBC.

I would ask that you take into account which of the shortlisted candidates is most likely to address and rectify the problem of discrimination against women within the Corporation.

As you may be aware, this matter was raised in an Adjournment Debate in Parliament.  I have studied the BBC’s patterns of radio output and enclose my analysis for your information.  It is evident that over half of the UK population is kept ‘off the air’ on the grounds of gender.

For example:

–          On the UK’s biggest radio station, Radio 2, there has not been a female presenter during daylight hours for 17 years.

–          Women present only 17% of output across Radios 1, 2 and 6 Music

–          Of the BBC’s 54 daily breakfast shows, only 2 are ever presented by a solo female, one of whom is being taken off air.I gave this document to the current Director General, Mark Thompson, and the Director of News, Helen Boaden, after a meeting in February this year.  Although I asked  whether Mr. Thompson thought the BBC had a problem in the area of female representation among its presenters, it was not until the fourth time I raised the question that he was willing to acknowledge that the BBC has to address this area.

I am pleased to say that, following my recent meeting with him, Tim Davie, Director of Radio, seems to have taken my findings on board and has promised to take action.  He and I will be holding a further meeting in the near future.All of this information is in the public domain via the BBC’s own websites; one only needs to do the maths to calculate the extent of this problem.  I can only conclude that the managers who have presided over this for so long either are not aware, or don’t care, about what’s going on.  I consider finding solutions to this problem are a priority for the next Director General.

I am pleased to note that there is a 50/50 gender split among Trustees of the BBC – 6 men and 6 women.  I am also delighted that of the 4 internal candidates for the post of Director General, half are female.It is a pity this balance does not extend to the BBC’s “shop window” and truly hope the next Director General offers a remedy.  I look forward to hearing what will be done.Kind regards,

Tessa Munt MP’

(Inspiration, ideas and information to help women with public speaking techniques, eloquence and confidence.)

British Council Diversity Unit

A prezi interactive slideshow celebrating International Women’s Day 2013.

Part of a (reasonably accurate) ‘Positive Events for UK Women’ timeline.

BBC Radio 4 March 2014

Mary Beard gave an interesting talk entitled “Oh do shut up, dear!”. It was a historical take on the exclusion of women’s voices from the public arena. It may still be viewable on the listen again feature of


A weekend workshop webinar was given by Helen Bicknell on ‘The language of Female leadership’ April 6th, 2014.

The London School of Economics and Political Science, Impact Blog

had an interesting piece, accessed on April 25th 2014, on ‘To blog or not to blog: Why female academics should take the risk.’

It looks at the challenge of using social media as a way to overcome the frequent invisibility of women in science.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie the author of ‘Americanah’ has given a lively TED Talk called ‘We should all be feminists.’ It’s available at:

A webinar hosted by English Australia (essentially the network of language schools in Australia), on “Women in ELT Management and Leadership”.

The article you get to via this link is called ‘Female Scientists Turn to Data to Fight Lack of Representation on Panels’ and is by Apoorva Mandavilli.

100 Women: Katty Kay on how the ‘confidence gap’ holds women back.

Colloquium talks at prestigious universities both create and reflect academic researchers’ reputations. Gender disparities in colloquium talks can arise through a variety of mechanisms. The current study examines gender differences in colloquium speakers at 50 prestigious US colleges and universities in 2013–2014. Using archival data, we analyzed 3,652 talks in six academic disciplines. Men were more likely than women to be colloquium speakers even after controlling for the gender and rank of the available speakers. Eliminating alternative explanations (e.g., women declining invitations more often than men), our follow-up data revealed that female and male faculty at top universities reported no differences in the extent to which they (i) valued and (ii) turned down speaking engagements. Additional data revealed that the presence of women as colloquium chairs (and potentially on colloquium committees) increased the likelihood of women appearing as colloquium speakers. Our data suggest that those who invite and schedule speakers serve as gender gatekeepers with the power to create or reduce gender differences in academic reputations.