THERE’S the fact that there are more CEOs of the UK’s top 100 companies called Stephen or Steve than there are CEOs who are women.

At TRNSMT festival in Glasgow this year, the line up so far has more acts from Manchester than acts who are women.

Liam Gallagher, Aitch, Blossoms, Ian Brown and Courteeners are all Mancunians... more than double the number of female acts announced so far.

Of the 13 acts announced for 2020, only two are women, pop star Rita Ora and rapper Little Simz.

Festival director Geoff Ellis has expressed regret at this woeful lack of gender balance. "We’d love there to be a higher representation of females but there isn’t," he said regretfully, as if the whole thing was simply out of his hands.

Of course, it's absolutely not out of his hands - it's entirely within his grasp.

It's one thing to make a really clanging error of judgement and another to fail to realise exactly what that error is.

From what Mr Ellis said following criticism of the lad-heavy line up, it seems he's entirely misunderstood the problem.

It will be a while, he said, before there's a 50/50 gender balance at TRNSMT because there's "far, far less female artists."

"We need to get more females picking up guitars, forming bands, playing in bands," he said.

Given the utterly vast array of amazing female music talent in the charts, on the airwaves and on stages at the moment, the fact TRNSMT was unable to find a few more really seems an utter nonsense.

That they were bold enough - given the background of women speaking out in all sorts of arenas about representation and given that there have been complaints every year about a lack of women artists at TRNSMT - to announce a line up with 11 men and two women without even seeming a wee bit sheepish about it is dazzling.

But to show such ignorance of the issue is just about unforgivable.

What Mr Ellis is essentially saying is that it's women's fault that women aren't being properly represented.

Well, the festival Iceland Airwaves has achieved equal gender balance for the second year running, with a 50/50 split across its 2019 line-up.

And this year, the Barcelona festival Primavera staged a 50-50 gender lineup. For next year, Glastonbury’s Emily Eavis said the 2020 edition of the festival will be "as close to 50-50 as we can".

What Mr Ellis is saying is impossible is already happening elsewhere.

He could, also, make it look like he takes his commitment seriously by joining the 200 other festivals that have committed to having gender balanced acts by 2022 - but so far TRSNMT hasn't signed.

While looking for a photograph of TRNSMT to illustrate this column I found nearly 400 images in our picture archive - yet there were very few of women performing. Among dozens of men were Sigrid, Mabel, Lauren Mayberry from CHVRCHES, Jessie J, Ellie Roswell of Wolf Alice and Hannah Reid of London Grammar.

What there were, though, was plenty of images of pretty girls in bikini tops. Sigh.

Mr Ellis wants to encourage more girls to pick up guitars - although the figures show 50 per cent of guitars are bought by women - and he's in the perfect position to achieve this.

Girls need strong role models. If they look at a festival line up and see only men, what message are they receiving? That music isn't for them. That big, headline festival slots aren't for them.

TRNSMT has the Queen Tut's Stage to introduce new female talent but this is tokenism without a rounded commitment to gender balance from the grassroots upwards.

The push for gender balanced quotas is far from new. In politics, for one example, the idea of having an entirely male panel - a manel - is something to be highly and rightly criticised.

Recently the Green Party co-convenor Patrick Harvey turned down a valuable slot on Sky's election debate because the panel was all male politicians.

That's quite a move during an election campaign but the right thing to do.

If politicians can raise these issues in the media and in politics then why aren't the male headliners of TRNSMT doing the same thing?

Lewis Capaldi has enough clout now that he could make some noise in support of women performers.

Liam Gallagher even more so.

Perhaps, as with last year, the boys will end up being too busy having silly squabbles among themselves to notice any serious issues.

But Liam, you can do better than Noel, surely.

Women are used to the relentless fight for equality and to be taken seriously.

It would be great if the men would get involved and lend their voices to the chorus.