More than 100 actors and public figures in the UK have put their names to an open letter calling for better on-screen representation of older women, to help tackle “entrenched ageism” in the entertainment industry.
Signatories include Keeley Hawes, Lesley Manville, Richard E Grant, David Tennant, Zawe Ashton, Meera Syal and Juliet Stevenson.
In the letter, the Acting Your Age (AYAC) campaign complains that women in the UK only have a “lifespan” on screen while their male colleagues have a “whole life”, and calls to “a parity commitment”, with equal representation. in the UK between men and women over 45.
The letter states: “Ageism targeting women is an ingrained industry staple that is outdated, the Acting Your Age (AYAC) campaign complains that women in the UK are only ‘lived of life” on screen while their male colleagues have a “whole life” ,rmful and neglect the millions of viewers who enjoy seeing women over 45 tell the stories of our lives.
AYAC was founded four years ago by Nicky Clark and offers recommendations such as:
- All fictional on-screen content and light entertainment programs with male and female leads or presenters must have a 50/50 equal representation of gender and age
- Writer/performer dramas and comedies must feature 50:50 age and gender parity in programming, and for all broadcaster diversity initiatives to mainstream age
- Documentary broadcasters should be equally represented, with 50/50 gender initiatives to include age parity between women and men over 45.
- Age parity in political panels, discussions, reports and studio guests
- Reporting on women’s physical and mental health and violence against women “should not be biased exclusively against young women.”
- Celebrity and entertainment news should feature women and men over 45 equally and use recent photographs