Ten's Bev McGarvey on diversity and women in the TV industry

By AdNews | 21 April 2020
Beverley McGarvey

Beverley McGarvey, the chief content officer for ViacomCBS Australia & New Zealand’s, spoke with journalist and news presenter Sandra Sully on 10 Speaks’ ShortBlack podcast.

In it she talks about diversity and the gender split.

"Lots of women in leadership roles (at Ten)," she says.

"And ... all of our five state news anchors are female and that’s not because we were looking for five women, it’s because the best people for those jobs happened to be women at that time," McGarvey says. 

She points out that 65% of television viewers are women.

"I think it’s important to more truly reflect the society that we’re in," she says.

"I always cared about it but now that I have a daughter I care a lot more because I care about the world that she grows up in."

Sandra Sully: Our industry is well known as being largely, you know, misogynistic and I personally think that was more about yesterday than it is today. How do you see it?

Bev McGarvey: I agree with that. I actually spoke at an event at one of the advertisers about this very issue and the benefit to me was that I stepped into Australia when I was already senior, I came from a director of programming role in another market and when I first got here, often people would say to me, “Oh, you’re a programmer and you’re female” and I would always think I don’t know what you’re talking about.

When I was in New Zealand all the programmer were women, the CEOs were women, and in Ireland and in the UK there were lots of women in those jobs and I didn’t quite get it and then – and this was 14 years ago – I went to a dinner in LA, the first LA screenings I went to with Ten and I was invited to a network dinner and it was the programmers and the CEOs of all the networks and I looked around the table and I went oh, now I get it; everyone else was male. That wouldn’t be true anymore. A bit true but not quite as true but Ten has got a... You know, it’s got great policies and...

Sandra Sully: A good gender split.

Bev McGarvey: Really good gender split and lots of women in leadership roles and lots of, as you would know, we have all of our five state news anchors are female, and that’s not because we were looking for five women, it’s because the best people for those jobs happened to be women at that time.

You have to be able to see a pathway to what the future is going to look like and when you look at that you should see yourself in that, whether you’re male or female or whatever other diversity issues that we have not addressed as well as even we have addressed the gender issue which is not done.

So I think that’s really important. I also think, for our business, and this is very particular to our business, when you think of your audience, 65% of the television audience is female, so to have only men making those decision – and of course that doesn’t mean that men cannot put themselves in other people’s shoes and I can’t think about people who have differences to me – but I think it’s important to more truly reflect the society that we’re in and also it probably helps lots of people.

 

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