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19 Jan 2015

BBC Must Improve Opportunities For Female Workers, Say Lords

A committee at the House of Lords has stated that broadcasters such as the BBC must do more to allow women to progress within the industry, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) website reports.

After a number of recent age and gender discrimination cases, as well as an inquiry into gender representation, the group met to discuss what steps should be taken to eliminate gender discrimination, bullying or mistreatment.

One area they feel needs to be improved upon is fair recruitment and progression opportunities for female workers. The inquiry found that there were not enough women in current affairs broadcasting in the news - pointing to the BBC as a particular offender - and that “urgent steps” should be taken to resolve this.

The committee chair, Lord Best, noted that public service broadcasters had a duty to represent women more equally “both as staff and as experts.” However, he stated that the BBC needed to make a concerted effort “because of its special status and its dominance as a provider of news and current affairs broadcasting.”

As well as this, there should be more opportunities for flexible working patterns to aid working women with caring responsibilities, and employers should ensure that staff returning from maternity leave have the necessary guidance and support.

Furthermore, the committee called for improved transparency about the corporation´s recruitment and development practices. It also called into question why the majority of journalism students are women, yet there are proportionally so few of them working in the industry.

The Lords recommended that Ofcom plays a greater part in urging broadcasters to develop more flexible working processes, perhaps bringing in a body such as the Broadcasting Equalities and Training Regulator (BETR) that was disbanded in 2011.

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