'It's ridiculous' - Late Late row as just 17 of 68 guests are female
RTÉ has defended the lack of female guests on flagship entertainment programme 'The Late Late Show'.
This season, a total of 51 men have featured on the Friday night chat show, but there were just 17 female guests.
Last Friday, the programme was criticised by viewers after six male celebrities including Robbie Williams, Roger Moore, Keith Barry and Hector Ó hEochagáin, settled onto the sofa.
There was just one female guest - RTÉ presenter Maura Derrane, who featured in a panel discussion about TG4.
Viewers expressed their disappointment at the "male dominance" and the apparent lack of gender parity.
Yesterday, an RTÉ spokesperson said the producers do not consider gender when selecting guests.
Instead, they look for a "variety of factors" including "profile, topicality and availability".
Dr Mary McAuliffe, assistant professor in gender studies at UCD, described the gender imbalance as “ridiculous”.
“The producers of the show say they are gender neutral but they’re not – they are gender blind,” she told the said.
“Claiming the guests are chosen on merit is mealy mouthed and flawed.
“There are so many talented female comedians, actresses, politicians out there – why not have them on instead of the same male voices we have already heard?”
The national broadcaster stressed, however, that the programme makers are "fully committed to giving great guests of both genders access to the show".
The spokesperson said that several female guests had featured on this season's 'Late Late Show'.
"There have been eight 'Late Late Shows' and we have had 17 female guests," the RTÉ spokesperson said. "We have also had seven audience participants, six of whom were female.
"These guests have included Can't Cope, Won't Cope writer Stefanie Preissner, Paralympians Ellen Keane and Niamh McCarthy, actress Jane Seymour and writer Jilly Cooper."
'Late Late Show' producer John McMahon added: "As RTÉ's biggest chat show, our goal is to maximise audience on a weekly basis.
"It is very difficult to refuse guests of the calibre that were available [last week].…we are fully committed to giving guests of both genders access to 'The Late Late Show' whenever possible."