The power of the BBC’s '50:50' Project

A conversation with Nina Goswami about the importance of diversity in media


For this new episode of the Building Bridges podcast, I’m thrilled to share the conversation I had with Nina Goswami, the BBC’s Creative Diversity Lead.

For over two years now this journalist has been the project lead and most ardent evangelist of the 50:50 Project.

50:50 The Equality Project is committed to inspiring and supporting the BBC and organisations around the globe to consistently create journalism and media content that fairly represents our world.

The initiative, born in the BBC’s London newsroom, uses a methodology that is rooted in data, creativity, practicality and passion to fundamentally shift representation within the media.

There really couldn’t be a more attractive subject for someone like me who despairs over the lack of diversity in French media. During this pandemic, an overwhelming majority of all “experts” interviewed by French journalists on TV and mainstream newspapers have been male (and white). Maybe this interview can inspire them to change the way they work.

For Nina, the best way to spread the word is to make the business case for 50:50:

Then there’s the business element. And I think this is the most powerful one for people who feel that there’s no need to increase women's representation. We as women make up 50 percent of the world's population, actually, 51 percent of the world's population. And if you are not reflecting women on your content, then you are not likely to be attracting women to your content. 

One of the really interesting things that we've seen over the past couple of years that 50:50 has been in existence is that people are noticing an increase in women's representation on BBC content, and that's having a really positive effect. 32 percent of women aged 24 to 35 are actually consuming more BBC online content than they have ever before.

We've seen in our target audience because we're trying to attract more young people to the BBC (16-to-24-year olds) that 40 percent of them are enjoying content more as a result. So if they're enjoying content more, they are likely to be returning to BBC content. Even if you don't care about women's representation, there’s still a business case for doing it.

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(Credit: Franz Liszt, Angelus ! Prière Aux Anges Gardiens—extrait du disque Miroirs de Jonas Vitaud, NoMadMusic.)