This past Monday, the UK's Labour deputy leader, Harriet Harman, unveiled the so-called "Equity Bill" which requires state-funded organizations (like the BBC) to increase the amount of female, black and gay staff to better reflect the diversified population of the island. If the reforms go through, everyone's favorite motoring show might need to kill off one of its presenters Stig-style and add a female cast member to the trio.

Naturally, the controversial reform is bound to have consequences beyond Top Gear, but much of the Daily Mail's coverage of the bill revolves around Clarkson, Hammond and May, along with some particularly quotable academics. Take, for instance, Dr. Louise Livesey, a tutor in sociology and women's studies at the Ruskin College in Oxford, who said the show is "entrenched, institutional sexism." No... really. One of Livesey's colleagues was kind enough to add that Top Gear should be more "female-friendly," which struck us as odd, considering our significant others (wives and girlfriends, since the Autoblog staff is primarily composed of auto-obsessed males, much like Top Gear's) enjoy the program as much as we do. Why? Because it's great entertainment and – shockingly – women like cars too!

Thankfully, Top Gear's producer Andy Wilman released a statement in response, calling out the mandate and its supporting egg-heads by saying "our regular viewers know, on account of them normally having more common sense than politicians or academics, Top Gear is a male show, in that it revolves around three males enjoying their love of cars." Wilman went on to say, "this sort of claptrap is very patronizing to women, because it assumes women can't enjoy a show's presenters on merit, but can only appreciate a program if spoken to by one of their own sex." We won't bombard you with the rest of Wilman's insightful critiques on the measure, but instead, make the jump to read it for yourself and make your own voice heard in the comments below.

[Source: Daily Mail, Top Gear US]

From TopGear.com

The statement below is written by Andy Wilman, the Producer of our favorite hit TV show, Top Gear, regarding a recent plan unveiled by Britain's ruling political party, Labour, to ensure diversity in state-funded organizations. This includes the BBC and, by extension, Top Gear.

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I was going to write about how the new series is getting on, but that'll have to wait, because Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman, obviously completely happy with the way the economy is going, has decided instead to turn her attention to the massive issue of women and Top Gear.

Under her new proposals we'd have to boost the number of women on the show to reflect the make up of the population. That means mathematically one of our three presenters would have to be a transsexual, so James is firing up the bandsaw and digging out the Kate Moss Top Shop collection as we speak.

And just as we duck to dodge Harriet's missile, in comes a two-inch mortar from Dr Louise Livesey of Oxford University, who claims Top Gear is shot through with "entrenched institutional sexism," and that the show has a "boys' club" production team.

Interesting that last bit, since this woman has never spoken to us, or been near our office, but never mind: if it's more women in the office she wants, I've already put the call in to Spearmint Rhino.

As for the institutional sexism, and Harman's other stuff, as I said in the paper this morning, if our show is so female unfriendly, then how come almost half our audience is female?

I also do believe that this sort of claptrap is very patronizing to women, because it assumes women can't enjoy a show's presenters on merit, but can only appreciate a program if spoken to by one of their own sex.

As I'm sure our regular viewers know, on account of them normally having more common sense than politicians or academics, Top Gear is a male show, in that it revolves around three males enjoying their love of cars.

That doesn't make it macho, or exclusatory, it just means one of the show's editorial pillars involves a journey into the male mind, in the same way that the excellent What Not To Wear veers more towards the female mind.

We don't even have three male presenters because of the notion that it's blokes that like cars. That's actually bollocks – loads of girls enjoy cars. And I think loads of girls also enjoy our show because a journey into the male mind can often be quite a funny one.

You get trivia, petty bickering, stupidity, arrogance, passion, mischief, the lot. I'm looking round the office right now, and yes, there are more blokes than girls working here. That's because we need male minds, thinking like males do, to help make the stories that work for this particular show.

We're all here on merit, and so can we be left alone to get on?


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