Only one in fifty listed BBC TV children's programmes has a female main character.

The Radio Times - 31 May-6 June 2014 is inviting you to Vote for your favourite BBC children's TV character ever from fifty listed programmes, 1950-2013. But only one show, (Sarah and Duck, 2013), has a female main character. Forty-four have male, or mostly male characters; (the remaining five have roughly the same number of females and males).

Even in the most recent category, the '2000s', of eleven programmes listed, there are eight with male main characters and one with a female; (two have female plus male main characters). 

The audience for these programmes are pre-schoolers and young children. UK children are about 50% female and 50% male: equal numbers. They identify and relate to characters they see in the media and their view of society is partly formed by what they see and hear. If children do not see equality of females and males on TV, how can they expect equality of opportunity and place as they grow up? 

If one group only sees and hears themselves less times than the other in children's media, will this give them an inevitable sense that they are less important than the other group? Will the other group feel they have more importance?

Well, I've voted. Just Sarah and Duck plus programmes with female and male main characters.

Eileen Browne

Eileen Browne is the author and/or illustrator of many children's books, including Boo Boo Baby and the Giraffe and Handa's Surprise. In 2013 she discovered that in UK and USA children's picture books, females were outnumbered by males by two to one. Eileen wrote about this in the special diversity edition of Write4Children journal, guest edited by Inclusive Minds (page 157).