The 65-year-old, one of the so-called golden girl presenters, along with Anna Ford and Angela Rippon, said the BBC should be allowed to employ whoever it wants in front of the camera regardless of age and looks.
She said that if and when the time comes that "they don't want us, well that happens" and then people should be glad they had the opportunity in the first place.
The comments by Lawley, whose 36-year-career included anchoring the Nine O'Clock News, Nationwide and Desert Island Discs, fly in the face of many of her similar aged broadcasters.
Ford, 67, and Rippon, 66, have spoken out claiming that women, unlike men, are sidelined by broadcasters when they get older.
Other presenters such as Miriam O'Reilly, 53, the former Countryfile host, have won age discrimination claims against the corporation.
"I believe the broadcasters have the right to put on the front of their programmes the people that they want," said Lawley.
"Whether their judgement is correct is another matter.
"Those of us who have appeared on TV have enjoyed our moments in the sun and if, after five years, they don't want us, well that happens."
Lawley, who recently became a grandmother, still presents the Reith Lectures once a year on Radio Four, but effectively retired from full time presenting in 2008.
She said that the idea that women could have it all was a myth and that she had had to make many compromises in her career.
"Women can't 'have it all' and if you chose to have a career as well as a family there will always be compromises," she said.
"I might have missed a child's first word or first step or a performance in a school production but they, and I, have survived.
"A lot of my decisions in life have been made on the basis of what I wanted to do for the people around me.
Later on it was for my children."
She said she was offered Breakfast TV and the Today programme on Radio Four, but turned it down for personal reasons.
"I have always wanted to keep normal social hours and enjoy my family at the same time as my work."
She said she was not a fan of the current trend of newscasters "standing up and waving their arms around", preferring the more traditional approach of being behind the desk delivering the news as straight and objectively as possible.
"I don't think news should be sensationalised, and I don't think it should be 'produced' with a capital P.
"It should be delivered straight but should be well written."
Lawley was speaking in an interview with her local paper in Devon where she and her second husband Hugh Williams, a television executive, spend much of their time.
Her comments are likely to reignite the debate about sexism and ageism in broadcasting, especially at the BBC.
In 2007, Ford said she was exasperated with “on-screen” ageism.
She also criticised the dumbing-down of standards and berated the BBC for ignoring its older viewers.
Likewise Rippon has argued that unlike their male counterparts they were retired by their bosses for being "too old" as they approached 60.
Article from the Telegraph