BBC seeking women for QT

Question Time,
the BBC’s political discussion programme, is looking for more female
panellists after being accused of not featuring enough women on the
programme, writes Caitlin Pike.

During 2004 the programme
featured 113 men and 62 women panellists. Up until the third week in
February 2005 there had been 21 male guests and nine women. The recent
Question Time on Northern Ireland consisted of five men and no women.

Ric
Bailey, the executive editor of Question Time, responded to Tim
Symonds, executive director of Project Parity, an NGO working to
increase the percentage of women in politics and public decision-making
positions, in an email asking for people to nominate interesting and
politically savvy women as panellists for the programme.

Symonds
had complained to the BBC about the lack of women panellists on
Question Time. “Every now and again I conduct a short, sharp campaign
on the number of women on programmes like this. Cultural change to meet
and reflect the modern world seems to be desperately hard for the
Corporation. Question Time is not the only indicator that the BBC
seriously lags behind the real world. Another offender is Dateline
London on News 24. The programme features four foreign journalists
analysing the weeks news and sometimes there is one women, sometimes
there are none.”

Bailey said: “We are always looking for
interesting panellists, who are to a certain degree and in different
ways in power, for the audience to scrutinise.

Some weeks we have
three women, other weeks we have one. We have a complicated process to
achieve balance and it is impossible to achieve parity every week.”

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