Sandi Toksvig Says Women Are Being Edited Out Of Panel Shows

Sandi Toksvig, current host of the quiz show ‘QI’ and co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party, has said that women are edited out of television panel shows, and regularly face poor treatment.

The ‘Bake Off’ host told the Radio Times: “There are panel shows that struggle to get women on, and that’s because the women feel marginalised and stupid.”

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She added: “In the edit [women] are often seen just laughing at the boys and not saying anything at all even though I know for a fact in the recording they were clever.”

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Sandi Toksvig

Sandi, who replaced Stephen Fry on the popular panel show, also said that she often feels spoken over on television. 

“I’m not shy at speaking up but even I, on those shows, am silenced,” she said. “And I sit there and think, ‘I could have been at home eating Chinese. What am I doing sitting here?’ And that’s a shame.”

Her appointment on ‘QI’ made her the first woman host on a mainstream comedy panel show on British TV, however Toksvig recently revealed that her salary is just 40% of that paid to Stephen Fry.

She told the Women’s Equality Party Conference in Kettering last weekend: “Until now I had held back from talking about this because this is not about me. However, the lack of transparency around pay is a big part of the problem and I hope that, being open, I can support women whose work is undervalued.” 

Following the publication of a list of its highest earners in July last year, the BBC have come under fire for a gender pay gap amongst its employees. The seven top earners were revealed to be men, and the organisation was also subject to criticism regarding a lack of ethnic diversity. A further audit also revealed a pay gap of 12.6% among its lower profile broadcast journalists.

Sandi said she hopes ‘QI’ is “a comfortable place for women”, and that she encourages its woman panellists to be smart and funny.

The show returned to the BBC yesterday.

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