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Rosa Doherty

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Women on TV: Too Few and Far Between?

Posted: 16/06/2012 00:00

Some might think there isn't a day in the calendar year someone is highlighting the achievements of women be it International Women's Day, or another day dedicated to the female force. The recent IWMD was an opportunity for women around the globe to celebrate their achievements and the opportunities available to them. Of which there are many. But still in some industries, women are still sadly under-represented.

It was only after watching Louis Theroux's latest documentary on the collapse of the porn industry that I thought about this worrying fact. "The porn industry is the only industry where women are paid higher than men."

In and amongst my tongue in cheek Tweets about porn and sex, something hit home. It's 2012, and the only way to be a high paying female, that is higher paying than a man in the same role, on screen, is to have sex for money rather than pleasure. As a post-feminism baby maybe I've taken the struggle of the older generations for granted, possibly too far detached from what they went through to get here. Here, here where if you want to earn more money than a man you must sleep with one.

With the porn industry becoming even more accessible what does that say about our attitudes to women on our screens, and women and employment? Let alone our attitudes to women and sex.

New research released around international women's day has shown that men still outnumber women on TV two to one, from soaps and drama to newsreaders and reporters. The research, commissioned by Channel 4 for International Women's Day, also shows that younger women are more likely to be featured on TV than those over 40.

Looking at hundreds of hours of footage across channels like BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4, Five and Sky 1, the researchers found that men now take up 65% of all possible broadcast roles.

As a woman on TV, in front of and behind the camera, (something that is rarer still) because of course we can only look pretty and act the fool, these statistics for the first time don't make me excited about my developing career they make me fearful. Fearful that once I reach 40-something and finally don't care about all the stupid stuff I do now (I think this happens then) that, that is going to be it? Really? Over. All the women I love and admire in TV are either in there 40s, or fast approaching, with age comes experience and wisdom.

Its only after realising this that I thought about my own job and the team I work with, the break down of which is something I have never even considered before, but according to statistics should be unheard of.

Arts360, a arts and culture show on Sky 539 and Virgin 233, immediate team includes two reporters and producers (who film and edit their own content), one exec producer, one project coordinator, and one online producer. Five women in making a program for TV not about women, or anything connected, in fact its far from it. The fact we are all women never even dawned on me as anything significant, and maybe there is something naive and innocent about that?

With that thought I'd like to share Arts360 with you, maybe we can be TV's accidental answer to the increase of women on our screens in front of and behind the camera.

Watch Episode 1

Watch Episode 2

 

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