Entertainment & Arts

Older women presenters are 'missing' from TV

Miriam O'Reilly and Arlene Phillips
Image caption Miriam O'Reilly and Arlene Phillips made headlines when they were dropped from TV shows

New figures show that less than six per cent of TV presenters in the UK aged over 50 are women.

Of 481 regular on-air presenters at the BBC, Sky, ITN and Channel 5 who are over 50, just 26 of them are female.

The report was compiled by the Older Women's Commission, which was set up by Labour's shadow culture secretary Harriet Harman.

Ms Harman said the figures showed "a combination of ageism and sexism... that doesn't apply to men."

The figures showed that 30% of TV presenters are over 50, a figure that roughly corresponds to the 34% of the UK population aged 50 and above.

Of the TV presenters aged over 50, however, 82% were men.

When it came to the TV workforce both on and off screen, only 7% are women over the age of 50.

Miriam O'Reilly, who successfully sued the BBC for age discrimination after she was dropped as a presenter on Countryfile, said the 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?"

Media captionHarriet Harman: Older women are pushed out of TV at 50

Following O'Reilly's case, a report by the Creative Diversity Network found that TV viewers were largely satisfied with the portrayal of different age ranges in the media

But it showed some concern across all age groups about the lack of middle- and older-aged women on television.

Harriet Harman said it was an "encouraging first step" that broadcasters had been open in providing the statistics.

The Labour deputy leader owill be holding a round table with broadcasters in the House of Commons on Thursday.

More on this story