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Palgrave Macmillan

Women, Ageing and the Screen Industries

Falling off a Cliff?

  • Book
  • © 2023


  • Focuses on the intersection of gender and age and its impact on women in the screen industries
  • Analyses the contribution and challenges facing women 45+ in front of and behind the camera in screen production
  • Explores gendered ageism in film, television and streaming services

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About this book

This book explores the challenges facing women from their mid-forties as they attempt to build/maintain careers in the screen industries. Essays are concerned with the intersection of gender and age on screen and behind the camera and how that can create a ‘double jeopardy’.

Existing research in this area has been primarily directed to onscreen representation. Female actors, with notable exceptions, struggle to get screen time and expansive roles as they age. Behind the camera, women 45+ also face challenges and roadblocks; to date, less attention has been directed to this group. The cross-cultural research in this collection offers an analysis of representation, on and off screen, touching on film, television, streaming services and film festivals. It includes an exploration of gendered ageism, age bias and stereotyping. It also highlights the achievements of mature female practitioners who, in their work and working lives, embody a resistance to restrictive cultural discourses about ageing women. 

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Table of contents (12 chapters)

  1. Introduction

  2. Interrogating Absence


“This highly engaging and readable collection of essays offers a welcome and much needed addition to existing understandings of gendered ageism within national and global screen industries. With a variety of methodologies and case studies the collection combines to form the first coherent and sustained interrogation of the everyday practices and prejudices that disadvantage the working lives of older women engaged in off-screen industry roles, while also enriching established concerns with on-screen representational systems. Devoid of jargon - both collectively and individually - this is a ‘must read’ for academic and general readers alike”.-Dr.Josephine Dolan  -  Author of Contemporary Cinema and ‘old Age’: Gender and the Silvering of Stardom (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).

“Investigating the 'double jeopardy' of ageism and sexism in the global screen industries, this book looks in turn at women working behind the screen, women on the screen and key figures from the history of women in film. Rich with interviews, analyses and advocation, it is a timely reminder of the issues facing women working in the industry at the intersection of age and gender, and the representations and absences that circulate, deeming them 'older' women'”

-Prof. Abigail Gardner, School of Creative Industries, University of Gloucestershire

“This collection provides a timely intervention in current debates about gendered ageism. It brings together leading researchers who shed light on the myriad of age biased stereotypes and challenges facing women in the screen industries, as well as their resistance and achievements. Its broad range of cross-cultural perspectives on older women onscreen as well as behind the camera renders this collection a must-read for anyone interested in gender, age and screen studies”.

-Dr Michaela Schrage -Frueh, University of Galway, Ireland.  Co-editor Ageing Masculinities in Contemporary European and Anglophone Cinema (Routledge, 2023).

Editors and Affiliations

  • Department of Media and Communication StudiesMIC, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland

    Susan Liddy

About the editor

Dr Susan Liddy lectures in MIC, University of Limerick, Ireland. She is editor of Women in the Irish Film Industry: Stories and Storytellers; Women in the International Film Industry: Policy, Practice and Power and co-editor of Media Work, Mothers and Motherhood. She has co-authored Auditing Gender and Diversity Change in Irish Media sectors for the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and The Pursuit of Change for Raising Films Ireland. She is Chair of Women in Film and Television Ireland and sits on a number of national and international industry boards. 

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Women, Ageing and the Screen Industries

  • Book Subtitle: Falling off a Cliff?

  • Editors: Susan Liddy

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Literature, Cultural and Media Studies, Literature, Cultural and Media Studies (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2023

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-031-18384-3Published: 27 April 2023

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-031-18387-4Published: 28 April 2024

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-031-18385-0Published: 26 April 2023

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XVI, 245

  • Number of Illustrations: 5 b/w illustrations, 10 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Film/TV Industry, Media and Communication

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