The BBC and ITV Studios
University Challenge is to focus on the posing of “gender neutral” questions, said the show’s executive producer.
Peter Gwyn made the remark following a viewer complaint that the questions were biased in favour of men.
“We try to ensure that at the hearing of a matter, we do not have the slightest idea of whether it was written by a man or a woman,” he said.
It comes in response to criticism that not enough women candidates to appear on the quiz.
In an interview with Radio Times, Gwyn said, “we agreed,” improvement “was required, and decided to remedy that.”
“May-be” non-sexism ” is what we aim for,” he said, referring to both the style and content of questions on the BBC Two programme.
He added that “the questions should never seem as if they cater more to men than women”.
“There are many balances we’re trying to achieve, in the matters which we are cast for each match, between the arts and the sciences, or between the contemporary and historical themes, and we recognize that gender balance is of great importance.”All-male teams
This is not the first time that the course of the programme, hosted by Jeremy Paxman, has courted controversy over allegations of sexism.
University challenge / ITV Studios
Female participants spoke repeatedly of the line of abuse and objectification after their appearances. All-male teams and all of the men, finals – like last year, the contest between Balliol College, Oxford and Wolfson College of Cambridge – have been criticised by the likes of the historian and broadcaster Mary Beard.
Gwyn said that they are doing everything they can to encourage women to take part, but it is the colleges and universities themselves that are making the team selections.
Rosie McKeown, from this year, the winning team from St-Jean of Cambridge, said there are several reasons to explain the imbalance between the sexes.
“The most obvious is, unfortunately, the hostility that some women candidates are subjected to on social media. But I think it can also be a problem with women under-estimate themselves and to be reluctant to try out for the show. I hope that this will change soon.”
This year’s final did not include more questions on women, including a tour on the women artists.
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