More on gender bias and balance

A couple of follow-ups to my HIGNFY gender bias post on Saturday that I wanted to highlight.

Jim Jepps has taken my data and put into a graph that shows the gap quite clearly, and the fact that – apart from the big dip in female guests in the mid-90s – there doesn’t seem to be much of a trend in them. (There appears to be an upward tick at the moment, but that might be because of the high female percentage in series 42.

Jim also has an interesting letter he received from John Lloyd, the producer of QI about the number of women who’ve appeared on that show. He also has a post looking at gender in police commissioner elections.

Rhube responded to the post on Tumblr, and I think her comments need to be read in full to explain why statistics like this are important and are not just numerical quirks. A sample, but read the whole thing:

If it seems irritating to you that I tweet every time a panelist show is all male, consider how irritating it is for me not to have my own gender represented at all most of the time on my favourite shows. And consider also how it encourages casual sexism from the male participants either when a woman is not there to remind them to reign in their less politically correct tendencies, or when one is and they treat her in a sexist manner, because her rarity makes her an invader, to be dismissed, undermined, or attacked.

One thought on “More on gender bias and balance”

  1. Cheers. I think the casual sexism point is really important. While I can forget that I’m watching five men joke about the news I’m always brought back to earth with a bump when the panel starts talking about women and it’s simply impossible to ignore that you have five men joking about people who simply have not been invited to the party.

    It always seems to be more likely to be derogatory if there’s no woman present and, of course, if there is a woman present she is quite likely to pull the boys up on their unconscious (or conscious) sexism.

    However, it’s difficult when you do have a female guest who gets caught in a bind. Do they pull up the other guests at every casually sexist remark (and therefore define their role as complainer rather than amusing guest) or let it slide and allow the culture to remain hostile to women (if that’s not putting it too strongly).

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