The Charter Against Ageism and Sexism in the media, published on 3rd October, has been produced by The National Union of Journalists; Women, Ageing and Media; and Women in Journalism, working together with the New Dynamics of Ageing (NDA) Research Programme.
The Charter calls for media organisations to recognise the important role they play in shaping perceptions of women and ageing and to take immediate action to better represent the diversity, complexity and potential of women aged 50 and over.
The Charter contains 8 specific actions to be taken in order to ensure a fairer, more truthful representation of older women. These actions include avoiding the digital manipulation of images of women and stereotypes that equate ageing with negativity and decline.
The Charter is a direct response to proven media bias against older women and demonstrated by several high profile cases of their exclusion from TV programmes. A log of BBC Question Time found that male contributors outnumbered female ones by a ratio of nearly 3 to 1.
The charter also responds to the findings of the NDA Programme Project Representing Self-Representing Ageing exploring media representations of women and ageing using participatory visual approaches:
Please sign the petition oppostite to help take a step forward in making a change
The media, particularly television, is most people's window to the world. As such it has tremendous power to influence public opinion. If older women aren't seen, then it's as if they don't exist in our society. If they are not heard on radio or their views represented on the pages of our newspapers, it's as if they have nothing to contribute. It cannot be acceptable in a civilised society that older women are excluded because of outdated views that youthful faces, voices and views have more value. It's for this reason that I wholeheartedly support the Charter Against Ageism and Sexism in the Media. By coming together we can bring about change.