The BBC Trust has ruled that Woman’s Hour, Radio 4’s 67-year-old programme focusing on female issues, is not sexist against men.
The BBC’s regulator was responding to a complaint from researcher and writer Steve Moxon who complained that the programme “lacked any sense of fairness to men” and was a “serious blot on the BBC”.
Moxon, whose initial appeal had been rejected, was appealing to the Trust after his testimony to a Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee on Women in the Workplace was mentioned by presenter Jane Garvey, who called him “a man who describes himself as an academic” when his work was discussed on the programme on December 18 last year.
In the interview with inquiry member interviewed Ann McKechin MP Garvey said of Moxon: “He’s made some pretty controversial comments about women relatively recently, and indeed he told you that he didn’t think that women were capable of being bosses.”
Mr Moxon complained that he actually described himself as an “independent cross-disciplinary researcher/writer on the biological roots of human sociality with a particular interest in the sexes”.
He also claimed his work was deliberately misrepresented, adding that Woman’s Hour had, over many years, dismissed scientific research on men and women.
He said: “I should point out that this is a rigid pattern of behaviour by Woman’s Hour, which has zero integrity when it comes either to science or any sense of fairness to men generically…”
“Woman’s Hour is a determinedly anti-scientific dinosaur of 40-years-out-of-date extreme feminism and the now wholly discredited ‘standard social science model’; a serious blot on the BBC that cannot be long for this world if the BBC is in earnest about public service broadcasting.”
The BBC Trust investigation has found his claim about his job description should be upheld on the grounds of accuracy, but dismissed the other points.
“The Committee appreciated that these were the complainant’s strongly held views but it noted that he had provided no compelling evidence to support them in his appeal to the Trust,” the body ruled.
It also noted the claims of the show’s executive producer that the brief of Woman’s Hour was to “cover issues which affected women’s lives, many of which would also affect or interest the 40 per cent of the programme’s daily listeners who were men.”
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years. After a two year stint on local newspapers in the mid 1990s, he spent more than 5 years as the broadcast reporter at the Stage newspaper. Following that he enjoyed staff reporting positions at the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times breaking stories and writing features before settling as a full time freelance writing for an array of newspapers and magazines - but mainly for the Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.