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.  

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