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India still does’t have enough women TV panellists; English does worse than Hindi


New Delhi, Feb 4: In India, a lot is being said about lack of women empowerment. Voices rage on over under representation of women in Parliament besides other instances of violation of women's rights.

India still does’t have enough women TV panellists; English does worse than Hindi

Now, it has been found that the representation of women in panel discussions in India's news media is still far from satisfactory.

A survey conducted by Network of Women in Media India (NWMI) has revealed that men constituted 86 per cent of the panels on Indian news channels as against less than 14 per cent of women participants. Also in the world's largest democracy, transgender participants make up an almost invisible 0.2 per cent.

The scenario becomes even poorer when the English channels are compared with the vernacular ones. The Hindi channels were found to be more responsive to women who make up 23.5 per cent of the panellists, as against 17 per cent in the English ones.

However, the picture is not uniform across all vernacular channels. Languages like Hindi, Gujarati and Urdu fared better than Tamil, Panjabi and Odiya which had only five per cent of female representation -- combined.

"Women are usually under-represented in TV channels. Their opinions do not seem to matter, and their absence is hardly noticed by decision-makers on these TV channels and even by the audience. Having become accustomed to watching and listening to men pontificate on 'important' issues, most viewers do not seem to be aware that women's voices are rarely heard during crucial debates about vital issues that affect and ought to concern all citizens," said research coordinator Sonal Kellogg.

In 65 per cent of total TV programmes monitored during the survey that took place in April-May last year, it was seen that there wasn't a single woman in the panel discussions that were held during the prime time news and talk shows on leading TV channels of the country.

The survey examined programmes aired by 28 channels in as many as12 languages: six in English, four in Hindi and 18 in various other Indian languages like Gujarati, Bangla, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Odiya, Asamiya, Malayalam and Marathi).

Less women in anchoring as well

Besides in the panel, it was also seen that women were under-represented in news anchoring as well. Male anchors made up 72 per cent of the total number and in Hindi, it was as high as 89 per cent. English took its revenge over Hindi in this aspect with more women rubbing shoulders with their male counterparts.

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