BBC helps advance women’s representation in world media

Over 100 organisations spanning industries including media, fashion, law and finance have voluntarily joined the BBC in a challenge to feature 50% women contributors in their own content, with results published today for the first time.

The BBC’s 50:50 Impact Report 2021 reveals how 50% of those partners taking part in the challenge reached gender balance in March, which is up from 31% compared to when those organisations first joined the project.

Organisations signed up to the 50:50 Project include Unilever, PWC, RTÉ, TVNZ, the Financial Times, ABC News (Australia), Edelman and Lansons.

At the BBC, 670 teams across all content divisions – including news, entertainment, sport and science – to date have signed up to the 50:50 Project. Of those reporting for March, 70% of datasets featured 50% women contributors. That is an increase for a third consecutive year and an increase of four percentage points on last year’s performance. It’s also up 34% on when those teams first started monitoring their content.

Tim Davie, BBC Director-General, says: “The 50:50 Project continues to enrich BBC’s content with new voices, helping us to reflect the audiences we serve.

“With our external partners, we are now also seeing a real impact beyond the BBC on a global scale. I encourage any organisations interested in taking up the challenge to get involved.”

The initiative, which originated in the BBC’s London newsroom, uses a data-driven methodology to monitor content and fundamentally shift representation within the media. Teams use a self-monitoring system to measure the gender of contributors in their content.

Nina Goswami, BBC’s Creative Diversity Lead for the 50:50 Project and report co-author, says: “The 50:50 partners network publishing our performance data together for the first time sets out our stall as a collective. We have given ourselves a benchmark for improvement and a yardstick that others can use to measure our commitment to gender equality.”

The impact of the 50:50 Project on audiences is also evident, with three-fifths of those surveyed (62%) noticing more women on BBC online content. Meanwhile almost the same proportion of women aged 16-34 (58%) said they consumed more services as a result of greater female representation – a 12 percentage point increase on last year. 

In October, the BBC announced that 50:50 monitoring would be extended to include disability and/or ethnicity representation. More than 220 teams have now committed to doing this and of those who have been consistently collecting data, 51% have seen an improvement. The BBC has committed to publishing more detailed data in 2022.

The 50:50 Project wants to work with as many partners as possible to drive change in multiple industries worldwide. For more information and to get involved, please visit: bbc.com/5050

The announcement in numbers:

  • Over 100 organisations in 26 countries now signed up to partners network
  • 50% of those partners taking part in the challenge report they’ve reached the 50% women contributors mark in their content in March
  • 70% of datasets* from BBC programmes and services featured 50% women contributors in March, up 4% on last year and 34% on their first year entry results.

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