Open Letter to the BBC: Please Promote International Women’s Day in 2015 and Beyond
To: Tony Hall, Director General, BBC
March 8th is International Women's Day (IWD) - a day that is well-recognised in other countries where it is used as a key time to raise awareness of the 1 Billion women who experience violence world-wide and to shine a spotlight on the work of women’s charities.
We therefore urge the BBC to actively promote IWD from now on in the UK - where 10 million women experience violence. And to do it in a concerted manner - through news, education and entertainment and through all of its broadcasting platforms - radio, television and the internet.
There is a diverse range of innovative programming that could be carried out (whether new or existing formats), such as: coverage of some of the 100s of events taking place across the UK to mark the day; all-female panel/discussion/comedy shows; 5 minute sound-byte films showing the work of some of the women’s groups in the UK; a web-based competition for school children’s ideas on promoting the day/issues; The Graham Norton Show with celebrity guests and the women’s groups they support; political programmes like Newsnight or Question Time with the Prime Minister and others being held to account on gender! And these are just a fraction of the ideas we have had!
So, although it was encouraging to see an all-female line-up of BBC1 Radio presenters on IWD in 2014 we urge for much more to be done in 2015. There was considerable coverage of IWD this year, through both social media and the traditional press, and this is bound to step-up in 2015, which could make the BBC appear to be lagging behind. The BBC as our national broadcaster has an important role to play and should be leading the field. And, as the best of its kind in the world, it could do an incredible job to inform and entertain around IWD as it already does around Black History Month, Comic Relief and many other similar initiatives. Please start to do this next year for half the world's population - women.