ABC News has met the BBC’s international 50:50 Project challenge to achieve equal representation of female and male interviewees and commentators in its news coverage across the month of March.
The ABC was one of 41 media organisations around the world to join in the March Challenge, of which half reached the 50:50 target.
The ABC’s overall March result was 51% female voices, with three-quarters of the 48 participating editorial teams achieving 50:50 or better. When they first began tracking, below a third of teams were achieving this.
David Anderson, ABC managing director, said: “As the national public broadcaster, the ABC has a special obligation to lead the way on gender equality in the Australia media and ensure our news coverage fairly represents our society. Also, including a full range of voices and perspectives simply makes our content better.
“However, the challenge is far from over. We have more work to do to consolidate this achievement and continue to improve our performance in areas and topics which remain overly male dominated in our coverage.
“We’re also broadening our focus to include other under-represented groups: Indigenous Australians, people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities and people with a disability. “
Tim Davie, BBC director-general, said: “The 50:50 Project continues to enrich BBC’s content with new voices, helping us to reflect the audiences we serve.
“With our external partners, we are now also seeing a real impact beyond the BBC on a global scale. I encourage any organisations interested in taking up the challenge to get involved.”
Virginia Haussegger, founding director of the 50/50 by 2030 Foundation said: “A thunderous congratulations to the ABC and every single employee who has worked hard to shift that dinosaur gender dial! This push towards a fairer, truer representation of women does not happen by osmosis or trickle-down. Nor does it just happen with time. It takes concerted effort! Design. And willful determination.
“Ensuring women are seen and heard in news media as leaders, experts, commentators, opinion makers, and valued contributors, is critical to strengthening our democracy. Yet women need to “see it” to believe we can “be it”.
“Some of us have been trying to force this change for decades. Others have been at it for centuries! The power of this cultural shift cannot be underestimated. But it could only become reality with the methodical muscle and genuine leadership the ABC’s 50:50 Project team has demonstrated. Bravo!”