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« In conversation with Mark Littlewood | Main | Risk and regulation »

Women wanted

Email from a TV news producer:

We are looking to expand the number of female experts on our programmes to better reflect the population we serve. Do you have any female spokespeople available for on-camera interviews?

Last year I spoke to someone who worked for a Westminster-based pressure group.

He was leaving, he said, because TV news and current affairs increasingly want female voices. This meant that, however good he was, he reckoned there would be fewer opportunities to advance his career as a media spokesman.

To be clear, I have no problem with more women appearing on TV in any capacity as long as they are chosen on merit. (Same goes for men!)

Today think tanks and pressure groups such as the IEA, TaxPayers' Alliance and Adam Smith Institute all have female spokesmen, and many of them are very good, but I hope smaller groups with fewer employees won't be at a disadvantage if they can't provide a female voice.

As it happens, Forest had female spokesmen long before many other groups. In Scotland in the Nineties we were represented by a lady called Anne Moodie.

My predecessor Marjorie Nicholson worked for Forest for the best part of ten years and was our principal spokesman for five. We were both very ably supported by Juliette Torres (nee Wallbridge).

Another Forest spokesman, from 2001-2004, was Jo Gaffikin (who went on to work for the Design Museum via the National Gallery), so having a female voice has never been an issue for us.

Currently, if we need a female voice – to discuss smoking during pregnancy, for example, which I personally feel a bit uncomfortable talking about – we ‘outsource’ the task to a short list of women who are happy to talk about such issues.

I won't mention their names but one or two are quite well known to readers of this blog ...

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