BBC to hire many over 50 female presenters to counter ageism charges

December 20th, 2009 - 6:08 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Dec. 20 (ANI): BBC has started a drive to recruit more female presenters over the age of 50, and part of that newsreader Fiona Armstrong is set to make her return.

In a bid to counter critics who accuse BBC of ageism, the corporation is also on the verge of hiring Julia Somerville, 62, and Zeinab Badawi, 50.

According to the Scotsman, Director General Mark Thompson gave news chiefs 12 months to recruit at least one woman in that age group.

Maxine Mawhinney is currently the only female BBC News presenter in her 50s.

Armstrong, 53, joined the BBC in 1983, before becoming a well-known presenter for ITV in the 1980s and 1990s.

She is now Lady MacGregor after marrying Scottish clan chief Sir Malcolm in 2005.

The new appointments are still subject to financing but the corporation is keen to finalise them before Christmas.

Many respected female broadcasters have criticised the lack of older women in top TV jobs in news and entertainment.

Joan Bakewell, the Government’s adviser on ageism, has raised the matter with Thompson and Helen Boaden, the corporation’s head of news.

A BBC spokesman said: “It’s important not to rest on our laurels and to reflect the public we serve.” (ANI)

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