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Older women under-represented on TV

Published on 01 February 2012 11:30 AM

It's official - broadcasters have too few older women on the small screen, a report commissioned by the BBC has confirmed.

And TV serves up negative stereotypes of both younger and older people, according to the survey of viewers and industry experts.

The findings came in a report published one year after former presenter Miriam O'Reilly won a landmark age discrimination case against the corporation following her sacking from the BBC1 rural affairs programme Countryfile.

The study, conducted by the BBC on behalf of the Creative Diversity Network, revealed that older viewers thought they tended to be stereotyped on television.

But the lack of middle-aged and older women on TV was of most concern. More than a third of women over 55 said there were too few of them on the box.

Older viewers said their portrayal in the media was 'insulting' and this generally revolved around a perceived 'reluctance to move with the times and tendency to moan', said the report.

It criticised the way 'different ages are sometimes at best presented as slightly humorous but exaggerated caricatures and at worst as negative stereotypes'.

The study noted 'a particular and strong concern voiced about the lack of middle-aged and older female representation' on television.

And it concluded the audience would welcome more middle-aged and older women on television 'providing positive role models and greater gender equality'.

 Download the BBC's reportopens link in new window

Copyright Press Association 2012

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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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