British Pakistani news presenter Mishal Husain is to join the BBC Radio 4's news and current affairs program 'Today', the first Asian presenter on the show.
Husain, 40, will join veteran presenters John Humphrys, Evan Davis, James Naughtie, Sarah Montague and Justin Webb on the program.
The move by new BBC Director General Tony Hall is widely seen as a major step towards redressing the gender imbalance in the Corporation's flagship shows.
Lord Hall said he was "keen to see more women in key presenting and backstage roles" and described Ms Husain as a "first rate journalist".
The Today programme is currently fronted by four men – Mr Naughtie, John Humphrys, Evan Davis and Justin Webb.
It has been criticised for its lack of female voices, both as presenters and interviewees.
Born into a Pakistani Punjabi family in Northampton, Husain spent her early years living in the UAE and Saudi Arabia where her doctor father was based.
After completing her education at the independent Cobham Hall school in Kent, she read law at Cambridge and at the European University Institute in Italy.
Her first job in journalism was a short stint with The News in the Pakistani capital Islamabad.
Having worked as a business news presenter and producer at Bloomberg TV in London, Husain joined the BBC in 1998, presenting BBC Breakfast, BBC World News and Asia Business Report, among other programs.
She was also the Corporation's Washington correspondent at the time of the second Gulf War.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS