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Diversity & Inclusion

Audiences dissatisfied with lack of older women on television

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By The Drum Team, Editorial

January 31, 2012 | 2 min read

A survey by pan-industry broadcasting association the Creative Diversity Network (CDN) has found that most audience dissatisfaction is with how young people are shown and the lack of older women on television.

Almost 40% of middle aged and older women said that they were bothered by under representation of older women on TV, a point that was also picked up by all age groups.

It was felt that some portrayals were 'overly reliant on rather dated and inaccurate stereotypes of older people'.

Young people also spoke out in the survey, saying that while there was plenty of coverage of young people on television much of this portrayal is viewed as negative, and was seen to 'emphasise risky behaviours to indicate their disrespectful nature, and often suggests they live unproductive and vacuous lives'.

The work was commissioned by the BBC on behalf of the CDN, also comprising BAFTA, Channel 4, ITN, ITV, Media Trust, MTV, PACT, S4C, British Sky Broadcasting and Turner Broadcasting.

Mark Thompson, CDN chair, said: “It is young people who are most concerned with the way they are portrayed and we need to look at this. But we should also note the concern, expressed by older people generally, about the need for greater visibility for older women.

“While of course there are many older women presenters and actors across our airwaves, this is something that needs to be addressed.”

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