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Actors such as Juliet Stevenson, Meera Syal, David Tennant and Zawe Ashton have called for better on-screen representation of women over 45 to tackle the “entrenched” ageism of the entertainment industry.

In an open letter signed by over 100 actors and public figures, the Acting Your Age (AYAC) campaign has called for equal representation in the UK between men and women over 45 and called for immediate action on a “parity commitment”.

“Today’s wanted young actress is tomorrow’s unemployed middle-aged actress,” he said, adding, “We are fighting to ensure that our generation of excluded women will be the last generation of excluded women”.

Women in the UK only have a ‘lifespan’ on screen while their male colleagues have a ‘whole life’, he claims.

Other signatories include Keeley Hawes, Lesley Manville, Richard E Grant, Sanjeev Bhaskar and campaign founder Nicky Clark.

“Ageism targeting women is an ingrained industry staple that is outdated, harmful and neglects the millions of viewers who enjoy watching women over 45 tell the stories of our lives,” the letter reads. .

The group, which was founded four years ago, has made multiple recommendations for commissioners of broadcast and production companies, as well as news and current affairs.

Among the recommendations is that all on-screen fictional content and light entertainment programs with male and female leads or presenters should have equal 50:50 gender and age representation.

It also calls for writer/performer-commissioned dramas and comedies to feature 50:50 age and gender parity in programming, and for all broadcaster diversity initiatives to incorporate age.

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In the news, he says documentary presenters should be equally represented, with 50:50 gender initiatives to include age parity between women and men over 45. It also calls for age parity in policy panels, talks, reporting and studio guests. “A panel of only middle-aged men and young women is dated and unrepresentative,” he says.

Furthermore, it states that reporting on women’s physical and mental health and on violence against women “should not be biased exclusively against young women.” While celebrity and entertainment news should feature women and men over 45 equally and use recent photographs.

“This is not an attack on artistic freedom,” the letter states. “It underscores that too often the exclusion of older women is made possible by the mantle of artistic choices.”

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