Coleen Nolan has said that women continue to struggle with work and motherhood in a culture of “female ageism”.
The Loose Women star and singer with The Nolans has said women can feel redundant after a certain age.
Nolan said ageism still exists for many women, and there is a lack of opportunity for female talent with careers on screen.
She said that beyond Loose Women there are few outlets for “women of a certain age”, and a lot of mothers can struggle to juggle their careers or manage life when their children have grown up.
Nolan has said she is a fierce believer that life does not end at 50, and has launched herself into her first acting role to ensure she lives without regrets.
The Loose Woman is set to star in The Thunder Girls, a play written produced, and starring women, with all lead roles taken by women over 50.
Nolan said taking the role shows women can live a full life no matter their age, and despite the pressures surrounding them.
She said of ageism: “I think it’s getting a lot better. But I still think it’s there, a bit of female ageism.
“I think for women in general, just the fact that women are now given the opportunity to do both, to be a mum and go out to work. It’s not frowned upon as it used to be.
“It’s gradually all changing, but it’s still there for women.
“If it wasn’t for Loose Women, I don’t know of any other shows that have women of a certain age on them.
“Life doesn’t end when you hit your 50’s, and life doesn’t end when your kids have grown up and maybe don’t need you as much – you’ve still got a lot to give.
“A lot of women struggle with that, I’ve struggled with it. You get to that thing of ‘oh god, I feel a bit redundant now’.”
Nolan said that mother’s guilt has held her back from taking touring acting roles in the past, adding: “We know it’s a problem with working mums now, that you do the best you can, but you still have an element of guilt.”
With her children grown up, Nolan has decided to take on the role of former pop star Anita in the new The Thunder Birds, alongside Beverley Callard and Mina Anwar, and believes the role shows what older women can do.
She said: “It’s great to have the opportunity then to be able to go out and do what you love doing. It’s just quite empowering really.”
“I get nervous with everything I do. I’ve been doing Loose Women for 18 years and I still get nervous every day before the show. It’s something that I’ve had to learn to deal with.”
Nolan is starring in The Thunder Girls, opening at The Lowry in Salford on September 24.