Entertainment & Arts

BBC pledges half of workforce will be women by 2020

BBC logo at New Broadcasting House Image copyright PA

Women will make up half of the BBC workforce on screen, on air and in leadership roles by 2020, the corporation has announced.

It says it will "go further than ever before" to represent women, disabled people, ethnic minorities and LGBT people with its new diversity targets.

The corporation wants to "meet or better" other broadcasters in representing the UK population by 2020.

The BBC said it had made "good progress" but "there's more to do".

"Almost half of our workforce is made up of women and the proportion of our workforce who are black, Asian and other ethnic minority is at an all-time high," a spokesperson said.

"We'll continue doing what works but also develop new and innovative ideas to do even better, and we'll set this out in our new diversity strategy shortly."

'Significant steps forward'

At present, 48.4% of BBC employees are women, with women in 41.3% of leadership roles.

The BBC has pledged that 15% of its workforce will be drawn from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds in staff and leadership roles by 2020, as well as ensuring the same percentage for on screen, on air and in leading roles.

Disabled people will make up 8% of the workforce and lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people will also comprise 8% by 2020.

The targets will apply to all genres of programming but will not be programme specific, it said.

Mark Atkinson, chief executive at disability charity Scope, said it was "positive to see the BBC, and other broadcasters like Channel 4, reaffirming their commitment to on and off screen diversity this year".

"We work with many talented disabled actors and aspiring presenters who are pushing hard to get a break. But it is still a huge struggle for disabled people to make it in the industry and there are too few opportunities," he said.

In a statement, a BBC spokesperson said the proportion of staff from ethnic minorities was "at an all-time high" but it will "undertake to deliver more".

"Significant steps forward have been taken but it is important to us that the BBC is truly representative of our all our audiences - diversity is more than any single characteristic," the spokesperson said.

"We are the BBC and must be held to a higher standard. The range of the BBC's programme and services, and the fact that we will make sure that our approach to diversity is hardwired in everything we do, make these targets even more ambitious."

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