Sunday, 19 May 2013

Janet Street Porter - biased against Barbie Presenters?

I do like Janet Street Porter. I've just read her column on Facing up to Barbie TV.

What strikes me is that she is calling for more people like herself in TV - a woman with character.  However I believe we need diversity - even in television.  Their are plenty of Barbie type men who get cosmetic surgery too to sign up to the televised agenda of what is attractive.  Luckily for men they don't need to do this as much or can sign up to it later.

It's not just recognising women as JSP suggests - for people to be recognised they have to be in the running and chosen to be helped.  Too often women do not find the champions, role models and advocates to help them climb the ladder.  Women often have something to say but may not want to say it in the same forthcoming way that Janet Street Porter does.  No one is better.  But difference is key.

We need to change the unconscious bias that the BBC may have towards women. The cases of Selina Scott, Anna Ford, Miriam O'Reilly, Moira Stewart and Arelene Philips show there is some recognition both in the courts and in the media of mistreatment.  I"m not sure I empathise with these women.  I recognise them more so than men because they stand out as different.

For me it's not about recognition or empathy but unconscious bias.

 I've just read that researchers made up an application where there were 2 strong candidates
1. had high education qualifications but less industry experience
2. had less education qualification but more industry experience

When sex wasn't mentioned 76% of men preferred the better educated candidate
75% preferred a better educated male over a less educated female
When sex was reversed only 43% of participants whose the female candidate with the better education

I believe this unconscious bias is the key to attaining more gender balance in business, politics and the media.  Janet Street Porters bias may be towards Barbie doll women.  What's yours?  Once you're aware of it, you can start the process of changing it.  

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Final Frontier

I've just come back from watching Star Trek, Into Darkness.  Some of it was set in the twenty two thirties or some time around then.  What I'm most disappointed in, and it affected my whole watching of the movie was the number of women on their board.

When Benedict Cumberbatch's character blows up an archive building and the Enterprise Board comes together to discuss it - there is only ONE women at the table.  Or at least that's all I could see.

We need to inspire in our creative and futuristic creations the world we want to live in.  I really hope there are at least fifty percent of women on the fictional Enterprise board by then.  Please Mr JJ Abrams and you're fabulous creative team please consider the future as we intend to create it - with 50% women in business and on boards.

It's scary that this was overlooked.  Did JJ Abrams  not even consider it or was it overruled and not considered important?  Not one of the extra people on the board talked - only the three main characters  - so it wasn't like it had to do with important characters and plot.

I am glad the women who were part of the cast were strong, clever women so there are plus points.  It's also great that these women were top level scientists, technicians and linguists but we have to challenge our creatives to create the future we as a society want to see it.

Having said that I watched and loved the film in 3D, great plot, great action, great twists.  I'd highly recommend it.  I was transfixed and time flew by.  So please think of the women in the future.  This will truly represent our world as it will be.

I did appreciate the gender neutral phrase at the end of the film - "To go where no person has gone before" but women will have a strong presence in the future and our mission is to be on the bridge and possibly take up the captains chair - even when he visits the Klingons.