Harriet Harman in call to tackle ageism

 

Harriet Harman has written to major broadcasters asking about the number of older women employed within their organisations, the Labour Party said today.

The move is part of the Commission on Older Women's work on females in the media and public life, which Ms Harman chairs.

The shadow deputy prime minister and shadow culture secretary said there needed to be "more change" especially in relation to "this combination of ageism and sexism" faced by older women.

Speaking on Sky News' Murnaghan programme, she said: "I think that there is a lack of recognition that actually women's value is not just during their reproductive years or just what they look like.

"It's just a bit of an old fashioned attitude and there's a whole new generation of older women who don't fancy the idea that they are written off and regarded as past it because they are past 60.

"There's quite an angry movement out there, we've got a Commission on Older Women and actually the economy loses out, public life loses out, as well as it being unfair and discriminatory."

She added: "I think that there's a combination of age and sex discrimination which doesn't apply to younger women, although they obviously still struggle with balancing a work and family, doesn't apply to older men."

Addressing host Dermot Murnaghan, she went on: "As you move into your prime, which you have not yet achieved, people will think all your wisdom, all your experience that that is really worth something, but if you're a woman it would be like the clock is ticking away should we be getting somebody younger in."

She told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show hosted by Jeremy Vine there was a new generation of older women who regarded themselves as being equal to men and were not happy to be told they were 'past it' at over 60.

She said: "I think in public life that's very evident, including in broadcasting where you know and it's very welcome that you see many young women blazing a trail coming forward, but they disappear out of sight as soon as they reach their 50s let alone their 60s.

"So we don't think that that is acceptable, it wastes a lot of talent and expertise, it's discriminatory and women are not going to put up with it."

It was not right, she said, that women ever felt they were on "borrowed time".

Referring to recent comments made by novelist Hilary Mantel regarding the Duchess of Cambridge, Ms Harman told the Sky News Murnaghan programme: "I think they (the press) just have stirred it up in a way that she never intended."

She also stressed her opposition to topless Page 3 models, branding its existence "completely out of date".

Ms Harman said: "I think the idea that the best women can hope for in 21st Century Britain is to appear in their knickers on Page 3 of a newspaper, it's absolutely ludicrously old fashioned, completely out of date and the idea that Rupert Murdoch is the one that decides how women are represented in this country, I think it is long overdue that it was ditched basically. Would you want your daughter to be on Page 3?"

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions