08/09/2021 10:34 BST

Strictly Come Dancing's Motsi Mabuse Highlights Double Standard For Female Judges

Motsi has said the issues faced by Shirley Ballas on the panel are indicative of a bigger problem for women.

Strictly Come Dancing star Motsi Mabuse has claimed female members of the judging panel face a double standard compared to their male counterparts.

Motsi is currently gearing up for her third year as a Strictly judge, where she’ll be reunited with Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and new recruit Anton Du Beke, who was previously the show’s longest-serving professional dancer.

Looking ahead to the new series, Motsi discussed her relationship with Shirley, who has been Strictly’s head judge since 2017.

I have a lot of respect for Shirley,” Motsi told OK! magazine. “She loves women who are capable of having their own energy because that is Shirley, and so she respects when she can see that someone’s working hard and has a good energy.”

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Motsi Mabuse pictured in 2019

Motsi also spoke about the online abuse that Shirley has faced.

“She’s the head judge so she’s got huge pressure. And she’s also a woman, let’s be honest,” Motsi said. “If a man does it, it’s okay, but if a woman is head of something, some people still have their own issues with that.

“But that’s their problem – she’s doing a great job.”

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Shirley Ballas

However, Motsi isn’t the only one who’s pointed out that female members of the Strictly family often have a tougher time of things than men on the show.

Last month, former pro Kevin Clifton said that Strictly voters are much more lenient towards male celebrities with previous dance experience than women in the same position.

Strictly returns for a brand new series on Saturday 18 September, with live shows kicking off a week later.