Men make up 82 per cent of presenters over 50, deputy Labour leader found
Figures released by the deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman have shown that older women are ‘barely visible’ on TV.
Harman wrote to the six main UK broadcasters to ask how many women aged 50+ were employed by them, both on screen and behind the camera.
She found despite the fact the majority of over 50s in this country are women, most TV presenters aged 50+ are men, a staggering 82 per cent, showing a ‘combination of ageism and sexism’.
Only 7 per cent of the total TV workforce are women aged 50+.
Harman said: ‘The figures provided by broadcasters show clearly that once female presenters hit 50, their days on-screen are numbered. There is a combination of ageism and sexism that hits women on TV that doesn’t apply to men in the same way.
‘It is an encouraging first step that broadcasters have been open in providing these statistics. Their response shows that they all recognise that this is an important issue that needs to be addressed.
‘I will be publishing these figures annually so we are able to monitor progress.’
Ex-Countryfile presenter and ageism campaigner Miriam O’Reilly, who won an employment tribunal against the BBC over grounds of ageism, expressed her concern over the figures.
‘These figures raise the obvious questions of where have all the older women gone and why did they go? Was it their choice to leave their jobs or was it a decision forced upon them?’ she said.
‘The broadcasters say they are committed to the fair representation of older women, but the figures don’t bear that out. I’d like to know the reasons why so many talented women have disappeared, while their male counterparts have grown older and still have their jobs.’