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BBC Woman’s Hour criticised for marginalising women’s voices

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The broadcast on Radio 4 was lambasted by some over social media for consulting a male author and mental health campaigner regarding teen mental health issues, in particular those of girls

Radio 4 programme Women’s Hour is facing criticism on social media for producing a discussion on teen mental health, in particular that of girls, that consulted author and mental health advocate Matt Haig rather than a women, or teenage girls.

Often women are eschewed from discussions concerning decisions that ultimately affect them, not men, including healthcare and reproductive rights.

Much of human history involved men speaking on behalf of women, dictating laws and proposals while maintaining female exclusion from all governmental and discursive institutions.

Only in recent history have women been active participants in wider society at large due to this forced exclusion.

However, Woman’s Hour does focus on specifically women’s issues and has included a vast multitide of female speakers or public figures that have been consulted in their programming.

Experts of both sexes are often consulted on sociological issues across a wide variety of media across the globe- if they have the aptitude and experience to comment and have relevant bodies of work or areas of study relative to what is being discussed, their work could provide insight.

However, a specific segment discussing teen issues-primarily female teen issues- being addressed by an adult man has rubbed many commentators the wrong way, with many adding that it is “incredibly on the nose”.

It is of paramount importance to include those you are discussing in the conversation, with unique insights provided by those affected by particular issues.

Stirling Woman’s Officer Jess Reid had this to say when we reached out for comment:

“Time and time again we see the media or society acknowledging women’s issues however mere acknowledgement isn’t enough. When discussing the complexity behind women’s issues especially in social media, it is the voices of women and young girls who need to be at the forefront.

“Matt Haig is neither a teenager nor a girl, therefore could never understand the nuances of this. To understand this issue you need to speak to the community it affects.”

Featured Image Credit: BBC 4 Woman’s Hour

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