As I write John Beattie on Radio Scotland is getting views on the Scottish political situation from a woman who was a Conservative MP for the South Derbyshire constituency eighteen years ago, and as far as I'm aware does not have any recorded expertise in Scottish matters. When we asked for more female political pundits on Scottish political programmes Edwina Currie wasn't quite what we had in mind. We'll give BBC Scotland the benefit of the doubt put that editorial choice down to Tory Scottish females being fairly thin on the ground...
Anyway, we're still keeping a beady eye on things here at #WFIMediaWatch. Last week we had an interview with the Guardian's Libby Brooks and we hope to do more interviews with those involved in Scottish media on the issue of gender representation in the future. We particularly welcome the contributors and producers of the shows we feature here to get in touch and provide us with their responses to our endeavours at looking at gender balance in the media.
We also need more volunteers to monitor our Scottish media. We would like our members to feed back instances where there is marked gender imbalance or no female members on panels on TV and radio political shows. We do need people to help us get our facts right. That means the monitoring of numbers of female political representatives, pundits and interviewees on political reports and shows. If you think you can do a stint of counting up the contributions on a show that you watch or listen to regularly please get in touch with [email protected] and mark your email "WFI Media Watch". Or if you are on twitter, just use the hashtag #WFImediawatch on your tweet pointing out an issue and we'll make sure we record it.
As an Aberdeen quine it was great to see the first Question Time after the General Election take place in my home town and even better, it had an almost gender balanced panel with Lesley Riddoch and Ruth Davidson sharing a panel with John Nicolson and Alex Massie and Lord Falconer. But the following week in Plymouth Question Time went for it with female contributors with a panel consisting of Justine Greening MP, Mary Creagh MP, Norman Lamb MP, Susie Boniface and Jill Kirby.
Over on BBC 2's Scotland 2015 the numbers looked like this:
26th May 4 men/1 woman
27th May 5 men/1 woman
28th May 4 men/1 woman
1st June 6 men/1 woman
2nd June 5 men/0 women
3rd June 4 men/2 women
That's a total of 28 men and only 6 women over 2 weeks.
It's sadly business as usual for Sunday Politics Scotland on Sunday 31st May with 4 men, 1 woman appearing on the show. The show was in danger of getting a drawer full of wooden spoons sent to them for their repeated lack of gender balance but redeemed itself the week after by featuring 4 female and 5 male commentators in their interviews and reports the week after (7 June). Perhaps we are seeing the start of an improvement here.
Over on Scotland Tonight the numbers were disappointing after a great few weeks of relative gender balance from the show. They got off to a splendid start on 26th May with Lesley Riddoch taking on the Guardian's Michael White and his moustache, but then fell down on the 27th with 5 male commentators to 0 women and on 28th with 3 men to 0 women. The following week's interviewee and pundit numbers on the live show's couch and satellite links weren't much better and looked like this:
1st June: 4 men/1 woman
2nd June: 3 men/0 women
3rd June: 3 men/ 0 women
4th June: 2 men/1woman
Amelie Mauresmo and Andy Murray
We're going to round off this week's #WFImediawatch with an enormous gold star for Andy Murray. The tennis champion took time to write a stunning piece on his website L'Equipe about his admiration for his coach Amélie Mauresmo and to make stinging remarks at the way she has been treated by the media solely because of her gender. You can read the full post here (http://www.andymurray.com/feature/lequipe-column/ ), and believe us, it's worth it. Andy reminds us that in the drive for gender equality it often helps enormously for men to call out sexism when they see it happen to their friends and colleagues and that feminism is not just the domain of women. To see Murray identify himself as a feminist also caught the attention of tennis fan, Nicola Sturgeon, who made comment on his post during her trip to the US. You can read about that here on Common Space. https://commonspace.scot/articles/1557/exclusive-nicola-sturgeon-says-men-should-follow-andy-murray-and-become-feminists