'Almost without exception they are shown in their relation to men': Ambridge women and their conversations

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


In a village where the (audible) population is fairly evenly split between men and women, where most women of working age are employed or run their own business, where women are even (gasp!) in the cricket team, surely they have better things to talk about than the men in their lives? How often do the women of Ambridge talk about things that aren't the men of Ambridge? And when they do, how long does the conversation last?

The Bechdel–Wallace Test was created by Alison Bechdel in her webcomic Dykes to Watch Out For (1985), in which a character says that she will only watch a film that has at least two women in it, who talk to each other, about something other than a man. It is sometimes used as a simplistic measure of the lack of representation (not only of women) in the media.

This paper reports on a year of eavesdropping in Ambridge, using the Bechdel–Wallace Test to investigate gender bias in the Borsetshire countryside. The data show that one-third of the episodes during this period passed the test, while another third did not contain any conversations between women at all. The results include how often individual women speak to other women, which pairs converse most frequently and the main topics of conversation during the analysis period.
Period6 Apr 2019
Event titleAcademic Archers conference 2019
Event typeConference
Conference number4
LocationSheffield, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational


  • radio
  • The Archers
  • bbc
  • bechdel-wallace test
  • sexism
  • drama
  • radio drama