25 March, 2006

Wanted: more women role models on TV

TV drama needs to do more to show women in positive and powerful roles, a new government report claimed.

The Women and Work Commission study claims that schoolgirls' career choices are hugely influenced by TV and adverts.

It cited research that showed how BBC1 drama Silent Witness - whose star is a female forensic scientist Sam Ryan (played by Amanda Burton) - had significantly contributed to an increase in women taking science-based degrees. Two-thirds of about 3,000 students on forensic science courses in the UK last year were female, it noted.

The report called for programme-makers to do more to encourage non-stereotypical portrayals of women at work to encourage girls to study for careers traditionally held by men. It added more must also be done to portray men as "parents and carers".

The commission, chaired by labour peer Baroness Prosser, called for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to set up groups of advertisers and key players in television drama, to tackle the issue.


Optimistic_Reader said...

Thanks for posting this Robin, I hadn't spotted it. Is the full report available online? A quick search on the DCMS site didn't turn up anything.

Robin Kelly said...

I'm not sure when the full report on the gender pay gap will be available but the television drama bit is just a suggestion at the end on how to improve it. Interestingly the Economist calls it a 'comical' suggestion when it seems to be common sense to me. Some families have role models as relatives or friends but most girls have to rely on the media, including drama, to help show the possibilities and counter the negative associations.

Optimistic_Reader said...

Thanks for that Robin. I'll look out for the full report. All seems common sense to me too!