Jane Seymour Says Women Over 50 'Just Hide Away and Expect Not to Be Listened to or Heard' (Exclusive)

The actress continues to protest the way older women are dismissed as “just menopausal” by society

<p> JC Olivera/Variety via Getty </p> Jane Seymour

JC Olivera/Variety via Getty

Jane Seymour

Jane Seymour is continuing her fight against “unseenism” —  a social phenomenon that devalues women in society as they age — and often leads doctors to dismiss their medical concerns.

“A lot of women, sort of [age] 50 on, just kind of hide away and expect not to be listened to or heard,” Seymour, 73, told PEOPLE exclusively at the Oscar Wilde Awards, hosted by the US-Ireland Alliance, in Santa Monica, Calif., on Thursday.

“It's a real, really large issue in the medical world because you have to empower women to actually stand up for their rights.”

The Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman alum recently signed on for biopharmaceutical company Insmed’s Speak Up in BE campaign, which is raising awareness about “unseenism” — something Seymour told PEOPLE she experiences every single time she goes to get her car repaired.

<p>Bryan Bedder/Getty</p> Jane Seymour

Bryan Bedder/Getty

Jane Seymour

“I mean, to be perfectly honest, if I take a car in to be fixed, and there's a guy there — usually a guy — they don't really pay much attention. [Or] they go, ‘Oh yeah, we need a new something —erater and another —erater," she told PEOPLE, referencing car parts like carburetor and alternator.

“You get taken advantage of and they cheat you differently. And if I have a guy with me, they literally look over my head and talk to the guy.”

And in medical settings, she says, women need to “make a list of what they're going to ask the doctor, ask for permission to record it in case they forget, so that they're not treated as sort of, "'Oh, you're just a menopausal woman,' or whatever.”

Related: 20 Celebrities On the Joys of Getting Older 

Ultimately, Seymour tells PEOPLE that “it's about countless women not being able to be looked after, especially when they are [dealing with] medical issues."

The former Bond girl continued: "Every woman I speak to...major intellectual women” experience unseenism, and says that when you “stand up” against it, “you still have to do it with class and dignity. You can't just say, ‘Hey, listen to me,’” because as she says, “It doesn't really work, so you play this silly game.”

<p>Tony Esparza/CBS Photo Archive/Getty</p> Jane Seymour on 'Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.'

Tony Esparza/CBS Photo Archive/Getty

Jane Seymour on 'Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.'

As she previously told PEOPLE, “I love being a woman, I don't say that I want to be a man at all."

"But I just would like to be respected and heard; I think when you get older they kind of look at you like, 'Oh well, she's past her prime. She's a little old woman, she's not important.'”

Related: Jane Seymour Says Sex with Boyfriend John Zambetti Is 'More Wonderful and Passionate Than Anything' Before

“I'm 73 and I don't feel old,” she added, “I realize that the rest of the world probably looks and goes, ‘Ohh, that's old.’ What I want to do is redefine it.”

“It's not old," Seymour told PEOPLE. "That is wisdom on two legs.”

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