THE BBC must ensure there are more women presenters and executives on its radio network if it is to justify its licence fee, an MP said after she found that in some cases there were fewer female voices than 25 years ago.

Liberal Democrat MP Tessa Munt discovered that on Radio 2 there were no women with children above the low-ranking assistant producer level, while on Radio 1 only 15% of DJs were female, compared to 16% in 1987.

She said efforts by the corporation to tackle the issue, which include "further mentoring, further training and succession planning" were patronising as men would not be subject to such scrutiny.

Ms Munt, MP for Wells, said: "The problem is so significant because when you look at the amount of taxpayers' money used to support the BBC, it is millions and millions and millions.

"Gender shouldn't make a blind bit of difference on the radio because how you look is utterly irrelevant. The balance between men and women is actually a systemic problem because exactly the same happens on the radio as it does on television.

"Radio presenters are in one of the most influential media because a lot of young people do not necessarily read the papers. They are hugely influential."

Her comments come after the BBC has faced accusations of ageism, particularly against women, following a series of high-profile departures.

Countryfile presenter Miriam O'Reilly won an age discrimination case against the corporation last year and former newsreader Selina Scott accused the BBC of ageism and sexism for employing too few older female newsreaders.

But earlier this week broadcaster Kirsty Young said: "I don't see why I shouldn't be doing Desert Island Discs until I'm 85."