Businesses need to tackle attitudes towards ageism to encourage women back to work after taking career breaks, according to Margaret Hodge MP.

The former tourism minister said she took time off to have her four children but ultimately “got bored with being at home”.

However, she only became an MP at the age of 50.

Speaking at the Women 1st 2013 Conference, she said: “I think we have to think about how to tackle ageism. You can go back to work at the age of 40 or 50 after you “coast” for a bit but just because you are older doesn’t mean you’ve not got ideas. Experience probably makes you better.”

Encouraging mentoring schemes within businesses also helps less senior women move up the career ladder, she said. “There is a sisterhood within the business community that goes across age. Women now seem very open to bringing other women up the ladder which 15 years ago was not the case.”