Actress Amy Poehler has challenged Hollywood to end its alleged ageism problem.
Poehler is directing and starring in Netflix comedy Wine Country, which sees a group of long-time friends go on a wine tasting trip in California to celebrate a 50th birthday.
The film, also starring Maya Rudolph, 46, Rachel Dratch, 53 and Tina Fey, 48, has been praised for celebrating middle-aged women, a group Hollywood is often accused of neglecting.
Parks And Recreation star Poehler, 48, said ageism is “systemic” in the industry but said one change could help tackle the problem.
She told the Press Association: “Here’s a simple fix. If you’re a director, a male director or a male actor and you have a spouse in your movie, make them the same age as you. I think that’s an easy fix.
“That’s my challenge to them. If you’re 50, have your wife be 50, see how that feels.”
Poehler, who first found fame as a cast member on US comedy show Saturday Night Live where she met her Wine Country co-stars, said while Hollywood is changing, women are still being “discarded after a certain age”.
“We live in a patriarchal society where age is shamed and especially in America, we’re obsessed with youth and the beginnings of things because we’re a very juvenile country,” she said.
Poehler added: “And men, there’s a lot of wisdom that’s applied to men and their ageing and it’s not applied to women. There’s a lot of discarding of women after a certain age because of societal pressures.
“All that stuff is very systemic but slowly changing as more women represent different ages and more women of colour represent their story. So it’s slowly changing but there’s a way to go.”
Wine Country, Poehler’s directorial debut, also stars Ana Gasteyer, Paula Pell and Emily Spivey.
The cast members are all friends in real life and the film was inspired by a real trip to Napa Valley they took together. Poehler said she enjoyed being on a female-led set with her friends.
She said: “It’s a really refreshing vibe for me because I think there are, whether it be behind the camera or in front of the camera, whether it be actors or production, there are so many stories to tell about women. And women that are working on stories about women feel very connected to it.
“So it feels like there’s a connected energy and enthusiasm and that’s great to be around.”
Wine Country will be streaming on Netflix from May 10.