The BBC has announced results of is 50:50 Project which aims to reach 50% women on-screen, on-air and in lead roles across all genres from Drama to News by 2020.
The proportion of female contributors appearing in BBC programmes has increased since the initiative was launched.
BBC Director-General Tony Hall said: “It’s amazing to see such a remarkable change in just a year – you can see and hear it right across our programming. I want the BBC to lead the way on equality and fairness, and this project demonstrates what can be achieved. Better representation is something the whole media industry needs to address so I’m really pleased others are now following us and adopting this project for their own organisation.”
BBC Director of News Fran Unsworth said: “We want to ensure the BBC reflects its audiences better – and that’s at the heart of the 50:50 Project. It’s extremely encouraging to see the progression made by so many teams to ensure we have more female voices represented across our news and current affairs output and it can only add to the quality of the programming we offer our audiences.”
The proportion of female contributors* appearing in BBC programmes has radically increased thanks to a grassroots initiative challenging teams to aim for 50:50 representation. On BBC World News – the BBC’s international 24 hour news channel, every programme team monitoring their output over the past year hit the 50% target.
The BBC 50:50 Project has challenged teams across the organisation to achieve 50% female contributors in English-language news, current affairs and topical programmes. Results published today show the transformation that has taken place over the past year, ensuring a more diverse range of views and opinions.
When the challenge was set last year by the BBC’s Director General, Tony Hall, 74 English language outlets and 10 World Service Language teams were already signed up to the initiative. At the time, 27% of them recorded having at least 50% female contributors – but that had increased three-fold to 74% by this April.
Over the course of the year, hundreds more programmes from across the BBC – from news to entertainment to music – have joined the project.
The programmes which hit the 50:50 target this April include Outside Source, whose presenter Ros Atkins started the 50:50 Project, Click, Asia Business Report , Impact, The Real Story, World News America, GMT, From Our Own Correspondent, Beyond 100 Days, Global, Newsday, World News Business and Focus on Africa.
The BBC World Service has also made dramatic progress in the same time period. The results are particularly encouraging in Asia where BBC Persian radio was up from 9% to 50%, BBC Urdu radio was up from 22% to 58% and Hindi TV increased from 48% to 58%. BBC Arabic also saw some significant increases and across the whole World Service, 61% of the teams surveyed reached 50% women representation – an overall increase of 44%.
The project has been so successful that the BBC has shared the methodology with other media organisations and is working with more than 20 external partners who are now signed up to replicate the project**. These include ABC News, Fortune and The Financial Times.
*Contributors refer to all BBC reporters, commentators, spokespeople, analysts, academics, case studies featured across BBC content.