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Sexism at BBC hit my career, says Libby

Broadcaster Libby Purves has spoken out about the sexism she experienced during the early years of her career at the BBC.

Purves, who presents Midweek on Radio 4, said that "sexism has faded" but that she had previously encountered years of "disrespect".

She told the Radio Times that her memories had been rekindled by a survey, prompted by the Savile Scandal, into respect and dignity in the broadcasting workplace.

Purves told how in 1974, before she became the first female presenter of Radio 4's Today programme, she complained while working on local radio about having production work cancelled.

She said: "The HR lady just suggested in a low, caring voice that my problem might be a failed 'personal relationship' with a senior colleague (as if!). Women, she believed, operate on romantic emotions, not creativity."

Purves ( 63) added: "In 1982 I was sacked from presenting The Boat Show because of a three-month pregnancy.

"The producer cited 'safety' grounds, because I might slip on a pontoon. It wasn't safety, it was terror of a pregnant woman on screen."