Labour warns media over older women
Broadcasters need to be closely monitored to see how older women are treated in the industry, a report commissioned by Labour has suggested.
The party's Commission on Older Women presented its interim report, which found there was a younger age profile for females working in TV than for men, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes.
As well as looking at the media, the commission also found that unemployment among women aged between 50 and 64 had increased by 41% in the last two-and-half years and grandparents had no employment rights to support them in their vital role of providing care in their families.
Speaking ahead of the opening of Labour's women's conference, deputy leader Harriet Harman said: "There is a new generation of older women - in their 50s and 60s - and they are very different from their mothers' generation.
"The health of women who are now over 50 is markedly better than previous generations, they have much higher educational qualifications and they have done much more in the world of work.
"They no longer accept the old ideas that women should be subservient to men and they have an expectation that women should be treated as equals. But while so much about women's lives has changed - public policy remains rooted in the past.
"Labour's Commission on Older Women is listening to the voices of this new generation. Many feel that far from being 'past it' they are, with their accumulation of experience, in their prime. We are looking at the public policy implications and demanding change."
The report recommends that all Government-funded employment schemes should support older women and that there should be a public debate about whether parental leave could be shared with grandparents.
Shadow women's minister Yvette Cooper said: "Across every generation women are feeling the strain. Women are being hit three times as hard as men by the Government's economic policies, despite earning less and owning less than men. But there is a middle generation of women whose voices have often been missing from the debate.
"When Labour set up the Commission no one was talking about the 'stretched middle'. But over the past 12 months the Commission has heard from women across the country who are feeling stretched in all directions. Labour will be looking very carefully at the proposals in this report because the generation of women who've broken glass ceilings and paved the way for their daughters and granddaughters deserve a better deal."