Shocking figures reveal lack of women aged 50+ on TV

Just one in five presenters at major broadcasters over the age of 50 are women

Although a shocking figure in one sense, it really should not be a complete surprise. I’d probably struggle to count on one hand the number of women presenters over the age of 50 who regularly appear on TV or who have their own shows. Yes there are some well-known faces, but they are an exception.

As soon as you hit 50 your days are numbered, as Miriam O’Reilly knows only too well. It was her brave decision to fight her employer, the BBC, over this discrimination which forced  the industry to recognise it has a problem.  O’Reilly was interviewed in the Guardian just last week and reveals how she has spoken to other women who were as badly bullied and/or side-lined in the same way she was. Veteran presenter Anna Ford who is sadly no longer on our screens lamented the lack of older women television presenters again in the Guardian last Saturday.

Harriet Harman’s figures, published recently show ‘just one in five presenters at major broadcasters over the age of 50 are women’, is terrible. It shows that women have to fight harder than men to achieve the same roles and do so throughout their careers.

We are familiar with the difficulties women face when going back to work following a period of maternity leave, and we know how hard it is for women to reach the board and executive level in many companies because we have the stats to prove it from recent research studies.  And now women are faced with their working lives being cut short because they are not considered ‘the right fit’? Whatever the reason executives must stop discriminating against capable and experienced women who are 50+. This is a period which should be one of the highlights of women’s careers. After all women in their 50s are experienced, knowledgeable, and should, therefore, be sought after not (as unfortunately they are) side-lined.

Harriet Harman rightly said: “It really is a black hole … Broadcasters behave as though the viewing public have to be protected from the sight of an older woman and that’s just rude. There is nothing wrong with being an older woman….We’ve got to fight back against this sense that older women are less valuable, whereas men accumulate wisdom, authority and experience as they age.”

1 Comment

Filed under Labour Party

One response to “Shocking figures reveal lack of women aged 50+ on TV

  1. Derrington

    Not when men regard females as b*tches and wh*res it all makes perfect sense. What use is a woman with the knowledge and experience to point out to a man that he’s wrong? In a sexist society, which Britain undoubtably is, a woman with knowledge and the bravery to use it is a dangerous commodity, as I know only too well to my cost. I am currently considering taking the UK to the European Court of Human Rights for the fact that my 6 year old daughter suffered numerous sexist and sexual assaults at her primary school and not one of the civil agencies with a duty of child protection would protect her from sexist attacks by her peers. Not the school, not the police, not Social Services, not her local MP Chuka Umanah, not Lambeth Education and not Offsted. The only people that tried to help were the NSPCC which reports that 1/3 of girls in the UK are suffering sexist violence at school with no one protecting them. Whether your 6 or 60, being female in the UK is to baited and beaten like an animal or shunted to the darkness where you can be ignored safely.