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Pushy or a Princess? Women Experts and UK Broadcast News

Howell, L. & Singer, J. ORCID: 0000-0002-5777-9065 (2019). Pushy or a Princess? Women Experts and UK Broadcast News. Journalism Practice, 13(8), pp. 1018-1023. doi: 10.1080/17512786.2019.1643252


One day during the run-up to the 2010 UK General Election, Lis Howell was listening to a BBC radio news analysis of a marginal constituency. She heard one male voice after another for nearly ten minutes. Back at her desk, Howell wrote a comment piece for Broadcast magazine – and a campaign to increase the number of female authority figures appearing on air in Britain was born. Howell and her colleagues began tracking the use of women as experts on leading British broadcast news programmes. The data showed that men consistently outnumbered female experts on the nation’s flagship television and radio news shows by a ratio of about 4.4:1 – a ratio disproportionate to the actual presence in British society of female authority figures in various occupations. This study, which also incorporates interview and questionnaire data from journalists and expert women, suggests two key reasons for the disparity: journalists applying preconceived attitudes about “the best person,” and women experts fearing being seen as “pushy” – or alternatively, seeking to be wooed.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journalism Practice on 19 August 2019, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Expert women, broadcast journalism, UK flagship news programmes, disprortionate use of male experts, pushy, arrogant
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Journalism
Text - Accepted Version
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