Diversity of Thought Blog

Are women funny? The BBC seems to think so.

By Cecelia Herbert

A few weeks ago, the head of the BBC Danny Cohen announced that they would no longer create all male comedy panel shows, such as QI. Given the success of such shows, this may seem quite bold, but as Cohen explains, there really is no excuse for the lack of female representation in the media.

The 2014 Women’s Media Center Report on the Status of Women in the U.S media paints a dire picture.  As this Buzzfeed list illustrates, women’s representation in all areas of media (such as video games, commentary and hosts) is not only painfully low, but sometimes in decline.

This is why the BBC’s move is so important and it a standard that we can expect from all media outlets the world wide.  Being half the population, there is no reason why women should not be equally represented in the media.  In the US, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media has been established to shine a spotlight on gender inequality in the media and entertainment industry.  This makes me wonder whether the BBC’s move is a push for better representation or is a response to the changing expectations of the audience.

However, just as we think things are getting better, I see this video of Jerry Seinfeld.  When asked his view on why there are so few female comedians, he says that the question alone makes him really angry, explaining that “I have no interest in gender or race or anything like that” and looking for diversity is ‘anti-comedy.’  So… are there just no women with comedic talent?  The BBC seems pretty confident, so fingers crossed we will start to see more of them on our screens soon.