BU academic in Parliament to present research on women MPs in the media

A Bournemouth University (BU) academic was in Parliament to share her research findings on media coverage of women politicians.

Senior Lecturer in Politics Dr Heather Savigny spoke at the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sex Equality, presenting findings of research she co-authored into press coverage of female politicians over the last 20 years.

The research – hailed as “important” work by Mary Mcleod MP during the session – found that women politicians in 2012 were receiving less coverage in proportion to their relative numbers in Parliament than in 2002 and 1992.

It also demonstrated that Conservative and Labour women were receiving proportionally more negative coverage than their male counterparts by 2012, while female Liberal Democrats were generally ignored.

Dr Savigny and co-author Deirdre O’Neill from Leeds Trinity University recommended that a media monitoring group be set up – comprising politicians, media representatives and academics.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group session was organised by the Fawcett Society.

Chair of the Group Diane Abbott MP welcomed the research and other presentations during the session, and pointed out that party press offices needed to do more to promote female politicians – and a wider range of women  –  in the media.

Co-chair Bernard Jenkins MP called on his male colleagues to participate in this debate, rather than dismissing it as a “women’s” issue.

They agreed to meet to discuss taking the issue further forward.

Prime Minister highlights success of Bournemouth University graduates


Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood took the opportunity to promote the work of Bournemouth University graduates during Prime Minister’s Questions.

Over 50 Bournemouth University graduates worked on the visual effects for the film Gravity, which picked up the Achievement in Visual Effects Oscar at the 86th Academy Awards on Sunday night.

During the session at the House of Commons, Mr Ellwood said, “In recognising British success at the Oscars, would the Prime Minister join me in congratulating Bournemouth University and the Arts University Bournemouth, as over 50 of their graduates helped with the design effects for that amazing British film, “Gravity”?”

The Conservative MP continued, “Does that not prove that Bournemouth leads the way in digital media, is a great tourism destination, and does amazing party conferences as well?”

Prime Minister David Cameron responded by saying, “As ever, my honourable friend is right about all those things. Bournemouth University has excellent courses that have helped to build up the British post-production and facilities industries, which are busy helping to create blockbuster films. It is very good news not only that are we winning Oscars for British films but that British studios are full to bursting point making movies.”

The conversation concluded with the Prime Minister saying, “The facilities and post-production industries are leading the world. We need to go on backing that industry, which is why my right hon. Friend the Chancellor has taken steps with things like helping the computer games industry, helping high-end television, and continuing to back the very important film tax credits that have worked so well.”

Gravity was not the only Oscar-winning film to have involvement from a Bournemouth University graduate as Vanessa Salas Castillo was part of the Disney team that worked on the film Frozen, which picked up the Best Animation award.

At least one BU graduate is also currently working on visual effects for The Hobbit trilogy – which was nominated alongside Gravity in the visual effects category at this year’s Oscars.

You can listen to the Prime Minister’s Questions session for 5 March 2014 again on the BBC website or watch the clip as it happened.