The BBC held its third ‘50:50 Challenge Month’ in March, reporting a sharp increase in the number of teams recording an equal 50-50 split between male and female contributors. Of the datasets filed from within the BBC, 70% achieved the target of 50% women, with BBC Director-General, Tim Davie saying, “we are demonstrating that more diverse content is possible.”
Following the success of the 5050 Project’s previous challenge months in 2019 and 2020, Davie renewed the 5050 Challenge for March 2021. Across the project, 70% of 578 BBC datasets filed for the month featured 50% women. Additionally, 2021 marks the first time that partner organisation results have been included in the report. The 5050 Global Partners network now includes over 100 organisations in 26 countries, and half of those who participated featured at least 50% women contributors in their content in March 2021.
“5050 gives us the opportunity to deliver real and sustained change,” said Davie. “I want to thank every champion, contributor and creator involved in the 5050 journey. We have a long way to go before we reach equity in disability, ethnicity and gender representation, but we are demonstrating that more diverse content is possible. Together we can ensure that the media we all consume truly represents the world we live in.”
Other key findings
- Some 95% of teams monitoring their content for two years or more featured at least 40% women. Of those involved for more than three years, 100% of teams featured at least 40% women.
- The BBC also challenged 5050 teams to maintain equal representation over a longer period of time. For the six months from October 2020 to March 2021, teams were asked to feature 50% women contributors for at least three months and to not drop below 45% women contributors in any other month – some 40% of datasets filing monthly data succeeded in the Consistency Challenge.
- 63 music datasets – including BBC Music and BBC Proms – took part in the 2021 Challenge. Almost two-thirds (65%) reached 50% women, compared to 10% achieving the target when they first reported, an increase of 55 percentage points.
- In February 2021, BBC Audiences conducted a survey of 2,180 BBC online users. Of this sample, 62% noticed more women in content.
Earlier this week we spoke to Nina Goswami, BBC Creative Diversity Lead for News and the 5050 Project. You can watch the interview in full, including a look at how the initiative is now being expanded to include disability and ethnicity monitoring, here.