Reid hopes 'something has changed'

Banbury Cake: Former BBC presenter Susanna Reid, pictured here wearing a Strictly Come Dancing outfit, says she hopes job prospects for older women have improved Former BBC presenter Susanna Reid, pictured here wearing a Strictly Come Dancing outfit, says she hopes job prospects for older women have improved

BBC Breakfast host and Strictly Come Dancing star Susanna Reid said "something has changed" for older women in television and that she "cannot imagine" being turned down for a job because of her age.

Earlier this month the corporation was told to p ut more women on air "as a matter of urgency", in new guidelines by the BBC Trust.

Ms Reid, 42, who is in Saturday's Strictly Come Dancing final, said: "I definitely feel that something has changed and that there isn't a kind of perception of what women can achieve at a certain age.

"I mean I personally feel that, and I cannot imagine a point at which women like me, or my peers or women that are older than me, are told 'You can't have this job or this job' because of, either explicitly or silently, your age.

"I hope that that has changed."

The issue came to a head when presenter Miriam O'Reilly won an employment tribunal against the BBC after she was rejected for a role on a revamped prime-time version of the popular rural affairs programme.

The corporation apologised when Ms O'Reilly won the case which saw former BBC One controller Jay Hunt forced to deny claims she axed four female presenters from the show because she ''hated women''.

Former BBC director-general Mark Thompson has admitted that there were not e nough older women appearing in television's top programmes and presenting roles.

Writing in the Daily Mail newspaper last year while still in the top job at the corporation, Mr Thompson said the publicly funded broadcaster still had "a case to answer" about the way it treats older women on the air.

The new director-general, Tony Hall, has ordered the BBC's local radio stations to take on more women in presenting jobs and offer work to apprentices in an attempt to open up access to the corporation.

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