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City Academic Leads Expert Women Campaign


Campaign for more female interviewees to be featured on broadcast media.

by Hollie Jenkins

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City University London's Deputy Head of Journalism, Lis Howell, is leading a new campaign to encourage broadcast outlets to increase the number of female experts interviewed on TV and radio. 

The Expert Women campaign, being actioned through journalism magazine, Broadcast, is asking people to sign a petition that will encourage media outlets to set a specific target of ensuring that 30% of all expert interviewees on broadcast media outlets are female. 

Lis Howell previously conducted research which involved counting the number of women on TV and radio news, which showed that women are dramatically under-represented.

"Even the programmes which have most women interviewees, Daybreak, Five Live and BBC Breakfast still only have a ratio of four to one and that many of their female participants are victims or case studies, not authority figures."

Her research also showed that from 2010 to 2011 there was no improvement in the number of women experts use on TV and radio. She says that she hopes a petition will help bring the issue into the industry spotlight. 

"We hope that broadcasters will obviously recognise that the underrepresentation of women in interviews is a problem, but we think they need a specific target in order to ensure that things change. We are therefore encouraging people to sign a separate petition that asks broadcasters to aim for a 30% target. This is not a quota but a minimum target that we think is realistic."

During the campaign Lis Howell and her team at City will also be monitoring five radio and TV programmes for a week, with Broadcast Magazine publishing the results. 

"We are going to be naming and shaming the programmes that aren't getting the balance right," says Lis.

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.