Big Media Outlets Still Under-representing Women

Many of the main news outlets are still underrepresenting women. Most astonishing are BBC and ITV, two huge media outlets that, according to a study made by City University, have men almost four to one in ratio to women on their ten pm shows. In fact, all the main bulletins on Sky, Channel 4 and 5, and Radio 4’s Today programme have twice as many men reporting as women.


However, the City University study did find improvements on the majority of bulletins, since the study reporting on the four to one ratio. ITV, for example, had improved its imbalance by 27%. However the BBC is under a lot of pressure to make sure they are more diverse. A BBC spokesperson has stated that: “increasing female representation on screen is a priority for the BBC and our flagship news programmes Today and News at 10 have seen increases in women reporters. We now have women in many of our high profile roles, including Mishal Husain on Today and Laura Kuenssberg as political editor, and we’re renewing our initiative to increase the number of women experts who appear on BBC News and elsewhere.”


It is worrying that the BBC and ITV, two extremely large news companies are not representing women as fairly as they should. This is particularly salient because so many people tune in and watch these large news outlets. If the mainstream media outlets are not representing women as much as they should, the idea that women are not equal to men further permeates into society. Moving forward, one needs to ensure that equality is being reached when it comes to representing women in the media, and should speak up when the representation is insufficient.


Research digest: 

  • Jackson, J. ‘BBC and ITV flagship news shows ‘still fail to represent women fairly’, The Guardian [London] 18 May 2016