The QI host told the Radio Times that she encouraged female panellists on the show to be smart and funny and hoped they found it “a comfortable place for women”.
Toksvig, who also presents The Great British Bake Off, added: “There are panel shows that struggle to get women on, and that’s because the women feel marginalised and stupid and in the edit are often seen just laughing at the boys and not saying anything at all even though I know for a fact in the recording they were clever.
“I’m not shy at speaking up but even I, on those shows, am silenced. And I sit there and think, ‘I could have been at home eating Chinese. What am I doing sitting here?’ And that’s a shame.”
Toksvig, who co-founded the Women’s Equality party (WE), revealed to the party’s conference last weekend that she receives 40% of the fee paid to her predecessor as QI host, Stephen Fry.
She said her salary was equal to that of regular panellist Alan Davies. Toksvig replaced Fry in 2015, becoming the first female host of a mainstream comedy panel show on British TV. She added: “So I temper this with the fact that I love the show and [am] the first woman to host such a show. ”
Toksvig told delegates at the WE event in Kettering, Northamptonshire: “Until now I had held back from talking about this because this is not about me. However, the lack of transparency around pay is a big part of the problem and I hope that, being open, I can support women whose work is undervalued.”