13:04 24 September 2009
In the wake of various ageism controversies, the BBC is actively seeking to recruit a female newsreader over the age of 50.
Director general Mark Thompson asked news director Helen Boaden to find a new veteran presenter.
A spokesman said: "News has a pretty good story to tell with Kirsty Wark, Martha Kearney and Maxine Mawhinney all flourishing - as well as highly experienced women out in the field like Bridget Kendall, Caroline Wyatt and Orla Guerin
"However, we'd be the first to say that it's important not to rest on our laurels in this area and ensure we reflect the public we serve."
He added: "And of course, this in't an issue just for the BBC - other broadcasters face the same challenges."
Broadcaster and government adviser Dame Joan Bakewell referred to as its "voice of older people" - said she was "really gratified" by the BBC's decision. She is working alongside Thompson to work on a solution.
Bakewell said: "I said there was a conspicuous absence of older women - of all the segments in society - that isn't seen.
"We get lots of jowly white-haired men - that's no inhibitor of employment for them - but it seems to have been eliminator for women until now.
"I'm glad it's changing."
April 2006 saw veteran newsreader Anna Ford, then 62, quit after 30 years. She said she felt she would have been sidelined had she carried on at the corporation.
"I might have been shovelled off into News 24 to the sort of graveyard shift, and I wouldn't have wanted to do that because it wouldn't have interested me," she said.
Last December, Selina Scott reached a lucrative settlement with TV channel Five after suing them for age discrimination.
The BBC has recently become embroiled in accusations of ageism after replacing Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips, 66, with an inexperienced former winner Alesha Dixon, 30. Similarly, when Terry Wogan steps down from his breakfast radio show, he will be replaced by Chris Evans.
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