Ageism in the Media
The importance of the role of the media in society is difficult to underestimate. It presents current events, provides interpretations, mobilizes the society to work together in order to achieve a particular aim, represents predominant culture and society, and entertains. The media has a great potential as an actor in the promotion of social equality both within a working environment in terms of employment and promotion of employees representing discriminated and marginalized groups, and in the representation of these groups through fair portrayal and sufficient coverage (Cangas, Haider, Fraser, & Browne, 2015).
Unfortunately, the media continues to reinforce and perpetuate harmful stereotypes. Unbalanced gender portrayal, ageism and stereotyping in the media influence people’s perceptions and shape the society on the whole. Older women are almost invisible both in the popular and news media, and their self-perception in largely influenced by the body image ideal created by the media. The absence of older women in journalism is proved by the research carried out by the Select Committee on Communications in 2015. According to the analyses, female workforce is considerably younger than the average male workforce. A recent report shows that although the majority of people aged 50 and more in the UK are women (53 %), 82 % of TV presenters over the age of 50 are men. Moreover, many older female broadcasters asserted that they had been dismissed because of their age.
This situation is similar in radio broadcasting, where women aged 50 and above account for 9%, compared to 19% of men. Though there are some high-profile older anchorwomen in the US media, the age profile of the media workers in the USA is almost the same. The statistics for age provided by the most successful broadcasters, ITN and BBC, reinforce the view that older women are not well presented, and the number of women over 50 is considerably lower compared to men. Nevertheless, BBC assumes than a small number of older women was due to audience preference without properly investigation the issue. Though neither ITN nor BBC link the lack of older women to the policy of removing them from their positions, the evidence received from witnesses and victims of discrimination suggest that there exists and informal culture of discrimination of older women (Select Committee on Communications, 2015).
Cangas, A., Haider, H., Fraser, E., and Browne, E. (2015). Gender and media. Retrieved from http://www.gsdrc.org/topic-guides/gender/gender-and-media/