Men outnumber women on U.K. TV by 2:1

According to new research published by Channel 4

LONDON -- Men outnumber women by two to one on U.K. television screens and on-air women are significantly younger than their male counterparts, new research published by Channel 4 claimed Monday.

The study, carried out as part of the broadcaster's role as chair of the media industry's Cultural Diversity Network, found that the on-air demographics of women were out of step with the statistics of mainstream society, where women marginally outnumber men.

The sample of 386 hours of evening viewing across the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five and Sky One, found that across all genres of viewing men averaged 65% of on-air presence compared to 35% for women.

Although women accounted for between 39% - 49% of viewing across soaps, light entertainment, comedy and drama, in factual areas the proportion fell to 34% and to 31% in the arena of news.

Some 60% of men on screen were 40 or over, compared to just 40% of women, the study found.

The researchers will now commission a further study to assess the way disability, ethnicity, sexuality and age are represented on screen in a bid to persuade broadcasters to re-evaluate how they put people on screen.

"Fundamentally this is about how we view our world and which groups are hidden from view or significantly under-represented," said Oona King, Channel 4's head of diversity. "The gender gap here is quite startling."

The report was published on the same day that satcaster BSkyB's Sky News channel said it had turned over the running of the station to female staffers for the day to mark International Women's Day.