BBC will train more female experts to be presenters

Jassel Majevadia Theoretical physicist Jassel Majevadia overcame feeling like an imposter

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A woman who attended the BBC's first 'expert women day' last month has been given a reporting assignment for the Today Programme.

Sally Marlow, an expert in alcohol problems in women, has gone from trainee to reporter in just six weeks. She will produce a segment on alcohol addiction, to be broadcast later this month.

The academic, who is finishing her PhD, was one of 30 women to attend an intensive training course at White City, with the aim of making the high achievers more media-savvy and give them better access to industry insiders.

A further four events with a similar focus - to be held in Salford, Glasgow (which will host women from Northern Ireland), Cardiff and again in London - were announced by the BBC today. It brings the total number of women attending the events, organised by the BBC Academy and sponsored by Creative Skillset, to 130.

Sally Marlow Sally Marlow will produce a report for Today
Pilot event

More than 2000 women applied for the first expert women's day, a high-calibre talent search looking for natural female presenters and experts. The final 30 were selected by the BBC Academy and Broadcast magazine. The pilot event cost £20,000, partly funded by Creative Skillset.

All of the final candidates had a background in science, history, politics, business, engineering, architecture and technology - areas which traditionally attract more men.

For the training day, they were introduced to simulated broadcast environments, attended a networking lunch and had training on how to deliver pieces to camera.

Their details - along with a shortlist of 200 who didn't make the final cut - were also added to a database. Film clips they have produced will also be uploaded to YouTube.

It's hoped these steps will ultimately make them more visible to broadcasters.

An 'imposter'

Jassel Majevadia recently blogged about the pilot training day at the BBC Academy's headquarters in White City.

The theoretical physicist said the intensive training helped her to overcome feeling like an 'imposter'.

'Imposter syndrome is when you feel like the only fake in a world of real experts - and that one day, you will get caught,' she wrote on the BBC Academy blog.

'The whole scheme is, in my opinion, a great way to introduce more women into the media and, more importantly, to give them the confidence to just say "yes" when asked to appear on-screen or radio,' she concluded.

Acting director general Tim Davie said the BBC 'didn't want to wait' before setting up more sessions. 'It is clear that there are many women out there with all the knowledge and experience we are looking for - so we have to do all we can to get them on the air.'

  • More information on how to apply to these events will be released by the BBC Academy in coming weeks. Follow the Academy on Twitter and Facebook or sign up to the newsletter for the latest updates.

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