The BBC increased its representation of women in front of the camera by 74% between 2017 and 2019.

It began with the nightly ‘Outside Source’ program anchored by Ros Atkins, which went from 39% on-air female contributors to 50% in four months.

In April 2019 there were 50% or more female contributors on 74% of the English-language shows.

Aneeta Rattan, Siri Chilazi, Oriane Georgeac and Iris Bohnet investigated how this happened. There was no diversity policy, the change was instigated by a white man, and the starting point was daunting. In 2015, 19% of front of camera experts and 37% of reporters were female.

They identified these key areas that they believed made the difference:

Decide to make change, opt in. Ros (the white guy) decided he would aim for 50:50 and then got on with it in his own area of control

Collect the data, embed it in a daily routine. The team decided what data they needed, they kept it simple, and they’re the ones who collect it. They then have control over it.

Make it contagious not compulsory. Because one team had done it, it inspired others to see it as possible. They became a role model for other teams. Senior leaders opted in, then encouraged, rather than mandated change. There was a growth mindset, there was no shaming or punishment for not opting in. It became desirable to be involved.

Join my gender, diversity and inclusion mailing list
Share This