The BBC has announced a review of its 2012 Sports Personality nomination process, after politicians accused the corporation of "ignoring women's achievements" on its all-male shortlist for 2011.
In a letter written to BBC director general Mark Thompson, the group of female MPs said the lack of women shortlisted for the public vote was "extremely unhelpful to the promotion of women's sport in the UK."
"We are very concerned that, this year, not one single woman has been shortlisted for the public vote," Labour's Stella Creasy, Alison McGovern and Joan Walley and Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson said. "This bias has led to a number of outstanding sporting achievements by women being entirely disregarded."
"Rebecca Adlington, Keri-Anne Payne, Victoria Pendleton, Chrissie Wellington, Nicola Adams, Jessica Ennis, Sarah Stevenson, Beth Tweddle, Hannah England and Kath Grainger, among others, have all been fantastically successful within their respective fields, yet none have made the shortlist."
The MPs requested that both women and men be included on the shortlist in the future. London Olympics head Lord Coe also expressed surprise at the male-only shortlist and female sportswomen criticised the exclusion of their colleagues.
The BBC responded to the outcry today (30 November) by announcing the review the shortlisting process for next year’s Sports Personality of the Year Award.
Sue Tibballs, Chief Executive of the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation, said, "We welcome decision to review the nomination process. The huge public outcry has hammered home the point that women’s sport has a far greater fan base than the media often gives it credit for, hopefully now we’ll see a new process that fully reflects the full breadth of excellence in British sport."
Picture credit: Rex Features, Rebecca Addlington and Jessica Ennis