The broadcaster said that senior women at the BBC ‘don’t get it’ and increasing numbers of women have undergone cosmetic surgery in order to ‘compete’.
Scott, a former BBC Breakfast Time and ITV News at Ten newsreader, won a landmark £250,000 out-of-court settlement from Five in 2008 for age discrimination after she was dropped as a maternity-leave replacement for 37 year-old Natasha Kaplinsky.
Scott has now written a new report looking at why there are so few female presenters over 50 at the BBC, despite the large number of women who form a majority both on the BBC’s governing body and among the corporation’s executive directors.
The report says the board of the BBC Trust includes seven women, and five men and women score a “similarly striking majority female ratio” among executive directors.
Scott identifies Jay Hunt, the 43-year-old female controller of BBC One, as one executive who has significant power over who appears onscreen, but “doesn’t seem to get it.”
Hunt was responsible for replacing the Strictly Come Dancing Judge Arlene Phillips, 66, with a former winner Alesha Dixon, 30.
Scott writes: “Young women are still being placed by producers, particularly on factual programmes, to ‘dress the set’, and act as the attractive foil to the male presenter.
“The male presenter is often seen as the repository of knowledge while the female is there to ask questions of contributors merely for information. This is degrading for women.”
Scott dismissed the BBC’s recent hiring of four women over 50 as presenters on its news channel as “just sticking plaster on the wound”.
She said Kirsty Wark, 55, on Newsnight was the only woman over 50 appearing regularly on a main news or current affairs channel.
The corporation has been criticised for replacing the presenters of Antiques Roadshow and Countryfile and with younger stars. The BBC is facing an age discrimination case brought by Miriam O’Reilly, 52, after her departure as a presenter of Countryfile.
Only 1 in 10 women working in television is over 50, according to figures from Skillset, an industry body.
Last month the BBC has come under renewed criticism for ageism after a study showed that only one in five of BBC One's presenters are over 50, compared to one in four for ITV1.
Scott says women over 50 who have remained in front of the camera have had to become caricatures.
Anne Robinson, 65, who presents Weakest Link, was “adopting a character which she plays much as an actress might. She is Cruella de Vil”, she said.
“The older female worker in the BBC feels she is stamped with a ‘best-by date’,” and that it is “little wonder so many women opt for invasive cosmetic surgery to make themselves look young in the hope that they will be better able to compete," she said.
The report calls on the BBC to conduct an anonymous survey of staff to gauge whether older female staff believe they are suffering from discrimination, and recommends that it “be required to monitor the age and gender statistics of its workforce, and of those who leave the BBC aged 40 and over”.
The report was compiled with the help of Age UK, the newly merged charity that combines Age Concern and Help the Aged, and Equal Justice, a legal firm that campaigns for social fairness.
Scott was unavailable for comment last night.
A BBC spokesman said: "We're aware of Selina's views on this issue and it's right that there should be a continuing debate.
"We work hard to make sure our output reflects the full diversity of the UK in every respect and our current line up of artists and presenters include Sheila Hancock, Arlene Philips, Bruce Forsyth and David Attenborough. It's worth noting that the Executive does report to the Trust every year on progress in these areas so can be held to account."
A BBC Trust spokesman said: "We would want to see the contents of the report before responding to it. More generally the Trust recognises that a truly diverse workforce is key to ensuring the BBC provides high quality and distinctive services to all communities across the UK.
"Responsibility for arrangements to promote equal opportunities lie with the Executive. As part of this, each year the Executive reports to the Trust on progress in a range of areas. The Trust responds and sets out areas for the Executive to focus on in the coming year."
Article from The Telegraph