The English actress, Tara Fitzgerald, has spoken out against the popular belief that female performers are faced with fewer work opportunities than males as they get older.
Fitzgerald, 42, who is starring in the BBC crime drama Waking the Dead, said she does "not buy into" the idea that there is a shortage of parts for women over a certain age.
She told The Stage newspaper that there were some roles – particularly in Shakespearean plays – which could only be played convincingly by actresses with years of experience.
Her comments contradict those from others in the profession, including Sir Ian McKellen and Guy Hibbert, who have said they think there should be more parts for mature actresses.
Equity, the performers' union, has collected 7,000 signatures for a petition calling on broadcasters to address the perceived imbalance.
However, Ms Fitzgerald said: "There are a lot of good roles I wouldn't have been able to play in my 20s – something like Lady Macbeth, for instance, which I would only feel comfortable playing in my 40s.
I think it's more constructive to say there are a lot of opportunities and a lot of good roles for women out there still."