Women on television

In talk shows, we see more men than women. Why?

It is a fact- and unfortunately women can’t do much about it- that in talk shows, it is all about today’s news and even more so about certain positions. Let’s say, the chief of the NS or a leader in politics. Most of the time there is a man who is suited for these kind of positions, which means: you need that man. But what if you want to analyze a certain topic, or you need somebody to closely follow certain developments? Then you could say: we are looking for a woman.

But don’t think it’s as easy as that. Because the moment you’re actively looking for a female candidate, it will go down like this. She will probably say something like: “Well, I can’t do it right now, because I have to go to a meeting. Could you call me back tomorrow?” But this is a last minute job, so there is no tomorrow. You have to immediately stop what you’re doing and be available. Men do this much more easily than women. Men also think that they have a better story, that they are good storytellers; they immediately take the floor.

Women often hesitate considering all the if’s and but’s. Unfortunately, that is not how television works. Especially not a talk show. You need to be able to go for it a hundred percent. When I talk to five ladies and they are constantly hesitating, I cannot help but think: “I need that man, because he is much better.” Maybe one of those women is as good as he is, but she presents herself in a different way.

Another thing that truly annoys me: women come up with numerous conditions. They don’t have a babysitter; they don’t have the right dress for this occasion… Some of those women need to get over that kind of timidity. I train women to become ‘talk show ready’. Which means: if they get that call, for whatever kind of show, they will immediately give the other person on the line a heartfelt ‘YES’.

Maartje Hofhuis

In 2014, Maartje founded MediaMaart. She organizes presentation and media workshops. She also acts as chairman and webinar host. Additionally, she has been working in newsrooms of the VARA and WNL for over twelve years, of programs such as Pauw & Witteman, WNL Opiniemakers and Nova (Nieuwsuur’s forerunner). As editor Maartje interviews many guests in the field of news.