The Glaring Issue With The Bachelorette Cast You Might Have Missed

Image supplied by Channel 10
The cast of The Bachelorette Australia 2021 starring Brooke Blurton
With the highly anticipated new season of The Bachelorette about to kick off, the cast vying for Brooke Blurton's heart has also been revealed.
With Blurton being the first pansexual bachelorette, the cast consists of both men and women which is a big win for diversity in the franchise's history. But what's somewhat disheartening and confusing is the number of contestants set to appear on the Channel 10 dating show.
Since The Bachelorette premiered in Australia back in 2015, the number of contestants on the show each year has always been less than that of The Bachelor that very same year.
In 2021, Brooke has 16 contestants to meet at the first cocktail party, while this year's The Bachelor lead star, Jimmy Nicholson had 23.
Last year Survivor star Locky Gilbert also met 23 women in the first episode, while sisters Elly and Becky Miles began with 20 contestants – and that was to share between the two women.
If we cast our minds back to the first Bachelorette season with Sam Frost six years ago, the Home and Away actress had only 14 suitors to choose from. She had appeared on Blake Garvey's Bachelor season the year before, where Garvey's initial cast consisted of 24 contestants, and then six 'intruders' on top of that who entered the mansion later in the season.
The discrepancies in cast numbers beg the most obvious of questions, why do these women have a smaller pool of love interests?

The Bachelor and The Bachelorette Launch Casts

The Bachelor 2015 (Sam Wood) – 19 contestants
The Bachelorette 2015 (Sam Frost) – 14 contestants
The Bachelor 2016 (Richie Strahan) – 22 contestants
The Bachelorette 2016 (Georgia Love) – 16 contestants
The Bachelor 2017 (Matthew 'Matty J' Johnson) – 22 contestants
The Bachelorette 2017 (Sophie Monk) – 18 contestants
The Bachelor 2018 (Nick 'Honey Badger' Cummins) – 25 contestants
The Bachelorette 2018 (Ali Otejen) – 18 contestants
The Bachelor 2019 (Matt Agnew) - 28 contestants (20 on day 1, eight on day 2)
The Bachelorette 2019 (Anie Kent) – 20 contestants
The Bachelor 2020 (Locky Gilbert) – 23 contestants
The Bachelorette 2020 (Elly and Becky Miles) – 20 contestants
The Bachelor 2021 (Jimmy Nicholson) – 23 contestants
The Bachelorette 2012 (Brooke Blurton) – 16 contestants
Like the bachelors, they've also put their lives on hold to take a big risk and date strangers on national TV, so do they not deserve an equal opportunity to meet as many potential life partners as possible?
While programming scheduling could be a potential reason for fewer contestants — ie a smaller number means a shorter season — it again makes you wonder why it's been acceptable for six years to show a shorter, fast-forwarded journey of a woman searching for love, as opposed to their male counterparts.
If the promos of The Bachelorette are anything to go by, this season looks incredibly entertaining and heartwarming and Blurton has already hinted she's found her happily ever after.
But here's hoping future bachelorettes see more airtime and a greater diversity of suitors they deserve as they make what could be one of the biggest decisions of their lives.
Refinery29 Australia has contacted Channel 10 for comment.

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