One of the first posts I ever wrote for FeministFiction was about the dearth of women in BBC comedy panel shows. I don't know whether it's exciting or depressing to say that, almost two and a half years later, something has finally changed. The BBC has now announced that they will no longer make any panels shows without any female guests. It's frustrating that, in 2014, the BBC has to actually make a rule banning all-male line-ups, and that they've warned that shows made or planned before this ruling may still lack any women whatsoever, but hey. At least it's progress. Sort of.
Because as Michele Hanson points out in the Guardian, having one token woman in screen isn't exactly an achievement. QI has five people on screen each week (including a male regular and male presenter). Would I Lie To You has seven (including two male regulars and a presenter), as does Mock The Week. So women are now guaranteed to make up 14% of the people on those shows. That's not far from 17%, which is a number that's been discussed quite a lot recently -- as the percentage of women in crowd scenes in movies, a percentage that is perceived as a 50/50 split.
So yes, the BBC's decision is progress, and that's good. But it's hardly good enough.