BBC slammed for gender gaps among broadcast staff in damning report

BBC “lags behind rivals on gender equality”: company slammed for gender disparities among broadcast staff in damning report

  • Ofcom’s damning report found only 44% of BBC TV employees are women
  • Out of the ‘top five British broadcasters’, the BBC has done better than Sky
  • The report comes after the top rows on company pay equity with presenters
  • A BBC spokesperson said women making up 50% of all staff “is a priority”










The BBC has been criticized for poor gender equality among broadcast staff in a damning report.

The proportion of women working in television in the company is lower than that of ITV, which owns Channel 4 and Channel 5 ViacomCBS, according to Ofcom.

Despite numerous initiatives and the hiring of highly paid diversity bosses, only 44% of BBC TV employees in both on-screen and behind-the-camera positions are women, the watchdog found.

This is less than Channel 4, over 56 percent, ITV (53 percent) and ViacomCBS (52 percent).

The BBC was criticized for poor gender equality among broadcast staff in a damning Ofcom report which found that the proportion of women working in television in the company is lower than that of ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5

Women made up 44% of senior executives at the BBC, compared to 46% at Channel 4, 45% at ITV and 51% at ViacomCBS.

On what Ofcom described as the “UK’s top five broadcasters,” the BBC did only better than Sky, which had 35% female and 37% senior executives. The company has faced huge criticism over its treatment of female staff, after experiencing high-profile pay equity disputes with presenters Carrie Gracie and Samira Ahmed.

Ofcom’s five-year review of diversity and equal opportunity in broadcasting raised concerns about the plight of women as well as older staff, people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities in industry.

He revealed that with broadcasters facing a “diverse talent drain”, the proportion of women leaving TV and radio in 2020/21 was “higher than the proportion of women entering”. Potential causes included the Covid pandemic and its “disproportionate effect” on groups such as working mothers.

The report, released today, says more needs to be done to “improve the portrayal” of older women, with just 16% of women on television over the age of 50 compared to 22% of men, a figure that has changed little since 2017.

Ofcom said more needs to be done for older staff, as “almost all initiatives” have focused on specific age groups targeting young people. Regarding minority ethnic groups, the BBC had a lower proportion of such television staff, at 15%, than Channel 4, Sky and ViacomCBS, but more than ITV.

The BBC has faced huge criticism over its treatment of female staff, after experiencing high-profile equal pay disputes with presenters Carrie Gracie (right) and Samira Ahmed (left).  Pictured as they arrived at Central London Employment Tribunal to attend Samira Ahmed's equal pay case in November 2019

The BBC has faced huge criticism over its treatment of female staff, after experiencing high-profile equal pay disputes with presenters Carrie Gracie (right) and Samira Ahmed (left). Pictured as they arrived at Central London Employment Tribunal to attend Samira Ahmed’s equal pay case in November 2019

But he only managed 9% BAME representation in senior management, beaten by Channel 4, ITV and ViacomCBS but tied with Sky.

Ofcom figures, which did not include freelancers, showed TV staff were almost twice as likely to have parents in professional jobs or to have attended a private school.

The watchdog said there was a “dire lack of diversity” among leadership positions and “key decision makers”, with people with disabilities making up just 6% of senior managers.

Ofcom's five-year review of diversity and equal opportunity in broadcasting raised concerns about the plight of women as well as older staff, people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, ethnic minorities and of people with disabilities in industry

Ofcom’s five-year review of diversity and equal opportunity in broadcasting raised concerns about the plight of women as well as older staff, people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, ethnic minorities and of people with disabilities in industry

He added that broadcasters appeared to have focused on “recruiting newbies” at “the expense of retaining diverse staff and allowing them to progress.”

A BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC is committed to representing all audiences both on and off screen.

“Our latest published data shows that women represent 48.6% of all staff. Reaching 50 percent is a priority.

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