A majority of Brits believes that the BBC is biased against employing older female television presenters, and feels that this bias is extended significantly more against women than men.
- 59% of the population feel the BBC is biased against employing older female presenters
- Just 20% disagree
- Compared to only one in ten (10%) who feel that the BBC is biased against employing older male presenters
- 68% actively agree that the corporation isn’t biased against male presenters
And while 48% of Brits felt that the BBC gets their ‘age range’ of presenters ‘about right’, 37% felt that it was too dominated by younger people. Just 4% felt that it was too dominated by older people.
Unsurprisingly, the results fall along gender and age lines.
- Women are much more likely (63%) than men (55%) to feel that older female presenters are discriminated against by the BBC
- Men are marginally more likely (13%) than women (8%) to think that older men are discriminated against
- While older people feel that the BBC is biased against older femalepresenters (78% of those over 60, compared to 37% of 18 to 24 year-olds)
- The over-60s are also much more likely to think that the BBC in general is too dominated by younger people (54% compared to 19% of 18-24s).
The results come in the wake of the recent claim by former Countryfile presenter Miriam O’Reilly that she had been unfairly dismissed when the show moved to a primetime slot in 2009. O’Reilly claimed that her dismissal was down to both sexism and ageism, but only won her case based on the latter grounds.
Our poll, however, suggests that the public does not perceive age to be the only issue, feeling that both the gender and age of a presenter may play a role in their employment chances at the BBC.
Since O’Reilly won her case, the BBC has said that it would like to "discuss working with her again in the future".