Broadcaster and comedian Sandi Toksvig has called on the world of entertainment to do more to recognise women working behind the scenes.
Sandi, who this year took over hosting BBC panel show QI from Stephen Fry, joked that “you don’t need a penis” to work in entertainment, as she attempted to shine a light on the large number of women working across the industry.
Speaking on the red carpet at the Women in Film and Television Awards in central London, she said the industry needed to “applaud the phenomenal number of women” who work to create and produce content to make up for the lack of women seen on screen.
Sandi, who founded the Women’s Equality Party in 2015, was hosting the annual event which was attended by actors and industry professionals including Benedict Cumberbatch and Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner.
The 58-year-old told the Press Association: “Still we don’t have equal representation on screen and so we need to absolutely applaud the phenomenal number of women who are doing cameras, who are doing lighting, who are doing all the jobs, because honestly you don’t need a penis to operate a camera.”
She added that most people “have never given a thought about the women – and it’s nearly almost always women – who operate the autocue” on television.
“Every man who has ever presented an entertainment programme has been entirely dependent on their autocue operator and that’s a woman.”
“They are the backbone of entertainment. And without them we would have nothing to say so there are always wonderful women who don’t get awards, who don’t get heralded, who are actually making the business run.”
She also said she had been invited back to host a new series of her “dream job” at QI next year.
She also spoke out on the decision by the WEP not to run a candidate in the Richmond Park by-election which saw former Tory MP Zac Goldsmith lose his seat to the Lib Dems’ Sarah Olney.
She said the move signalled a “new consensual form of politics”.
She added: “There is a new wave of politics happening. I was just at the Women’s Equality Party conference, 1,500 feminists in one fantastic warehouse and you know what that’s called, that’s called the future.”