Libby Purves has spoken out about a history of sexism at the BBC. The Radio 4 presenter explained that her memories of experiencing difficulties as a woman, within the organisation were brought to the fore when she was asked to complete a ‘respect and dignity in the workplace’ survey, sparked by the recent Jimmy Savile scandal.
In an interview with Radio Times, Purves revealed that when she complained about having production work cancelled, it was suggested that the cause may be a failed personal relationship with a senior male colleague. That was back in 1974 but in 1982, a three month pregnancy caused her to be removed from presenting The Boat Show. Although the producer cited safety grounds as the reason for her removal from the show, Purves insists that it was in fact “the terror of a pregnant woman on screen.” When a female controller of Radio 4 suggested that she concentrate on documentaries, Libby argued that they did not pay a living wage. The response came “But you're married - money's not an issue, surely?” Attempts to control her wardrobe when she appeared on TV soon led Libby to turn on her heels and hurry back to the world of radio presenting, where, at least, she had some control over what she wore.
The Independent have reported on the Radio Times interview which details incidences of sexism throughout Purves’ career.
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