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.