Broadcast is calling on the TV and radio industry to sign a pledge favouring an increase in the number of female experts interviewed on screen.

While it would be unrealistic to expect equal representation of male and female contributors, the campaign aims to narrow the gap as well as to raise awareness of the ratio of women presented as ‘case studies’ or ‘victims’.

Over a 4-week period in Summer 2011, the Today programme had six times the number of male to female experts, according to research by City University.

Researchers there will begin monitoring the use of experts across a range of news and current affairs programmes, beginning next month, with the results published in Broadcast.

The pledge aims to encourage broadcasters to use more women experts, and to encourage more women experts to take part.

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The pledge

“We pledge to attempt to increase the number of expert women interviewed in broadcast news to reflect the growing number of women in significant roles in business and the professions.

“We will raise awareness of the ratio of women presented as ‘victims’ or ‘case studies’, to the number of women presented as experts or commentators.

“We will aim to narrow the gap between the number of male and female experts used in programmes, by encouraging broadcasters to use more women experts, and by encouraging more women experts to take part.”

We recognise that improving the ratio of male/female experts on screen is just one small step to improving the onscreen representation of diverse groups.

We also recognise that what is seen on-screen reflects the situation behind the scenes, whereby large numbers of women 35+ have left the industry and where the lack of equal opportunities remains an issue.

If you have comments, suggestions or action points you would like the industry to take - both in terms of on- and off-screen - please leave them in the section below.

For example:

  • Is there a need for more training in diversity issues?

  • Should the government go ahead with plans to release Ofcom from its duty to promote equality in broadcasting?

  • Should companies be forced to publish their non-executive directors?

Please leave your comments below…