Ageism is a systematic type of oppression, but unlike other forms of injustice like racism, sexism, and ableism, it may affect everyone. People do not always take ageism as seriously as other types of inequality, although it is ubiquitous. Ageism can negatively influence not only your confidence but your career prospects, financial condition, and overall quality of life too. It must be addressed to ensure that no one is disadvantaged as a result of their age. Even though ageism affects people of all ages, women account for more than half of those who are subjected to it.
Ageism may now be more common than sexism, according to certain studies. Can you fathom the disastrous effects for those who are affected by both sexism and ageism? In numerous aspects of their life, older women are subjected to the cumulative impacts of ageism and sexism. To begin with, they are more likely to confront ageist views than males. They may face double discrimination in terms of employment and pensions, as well as crucial products and services in the health and insurance industries. While men and women have similar poverty rates during their working lives, the gap widens after the age of 65, and even more so beyond the age of 75. This is due to pay and working-time disparities throughout a person's career, different pension ages for men and women, and the fact that elderly women live longer and are more likely to be alone.
Ageism takes many forms, including refusing to hire people over or under a certain age, asking for someone's age during a job interview, enacting policies that unfairly favor one age group over another, and viewing older people as out of touch, less productive, or stuck in their ways, and younger people as unskilled, irresponsible, or untrustworthy. Women are not just confronted with this in their professional life; some instances in personal relationships include:
• Making ageist jokes that imply someone is less valuable or deserving of respect based on their age
• Making offensive generalizations about a specific generation, such as that millennials are entitled
• Not addressing someone's concerns or wishes because of their age.
• Exploiting someone's age for personal gains, such as to make money
• Using someone's age as an excuse to manipulate, deceive, or control them
Abuse can occur as a result of ageism. According to the WHO, one out of every six adults over the age of 60 has been subjected to some sort of elder abuse, which can include mental, physical, sexual, or financial abuse. On average and at best, women earn 81 cents for every dollar a male earns at work in the United States. In certain industries, the salary difference is much more pronounced. Women in offices are well-versed in this form of prejudice since they've been battling it for decades.
Female professionals have had to show themselves to be just as professional as men on several occasions. It's no longer just that they're a woman; they're typically a woman of a particular age. Gendered ageism, on the other hand, affects women of all ages. Women have a new battlefront to cope with as complaints of ageism mount, and if they're ever going to equal males dollar for dollar, it's a war they'll have to fight together. Women of childbearing age are frequently subjected to misconceptions about their role as spouses and mothers. Men, too, are parents. Weddings, marriages, and births are all common occurrences. While significant progress has been made in dispelling old preconceptions, women are still seen as being preoccupied with their families, while males continue to receive a pass. Employers continue to perceive women through the lens of tradition, which disadvantages women of reproductive age in terms of promotions and pays.
The fact is that not all women choose to marry and have children, and those who do are fully capable of balancing work and family life. Women are being sabotaged by the perception that women under 25 aren't serious about their jobs yet, and that women between 25 and 40 are preoccupied with family matters. They're penalized for being a woman and a woman of a particular age, which is just twice as bad.
Researchers discovered that prejudice against older women was far greater than discrimination against older males in one sample of women and men in professions. Women begin to suffer a new type of ageism at the age of 40. Instead of caring for their children, women are now caring for their ageing parents, perpetuating the stereotype. Employers believe their ambition has waned and that they are less likely than younger female or male coworkers. Is it possible for women to ever win?
Is the issue obvious enough – or do we need more proof and cases? It may be obvious to women, but is it obvious to businesses today? There are several strategies for businesses to combat gendered ageism. To counteract gendered ageism, the first step must be to raise awareness of the issue. Companies will not seek solutions to an issue that they are unaware of or do not think exists. Companies should look into this issue and revise their diversity and inclusion policies to include an emphasis on age, or at the very least, state that age will not be a consideration in recruiting or promotion choices. Companies should foster fair and equitable workplaces since those with diverse workforces have greater productivity rates than companies without diversity. Failure to confront ageism, like sexism, will be a problem in more ways than one for not only a professional corporation or a business, but for everyone.
Women must also do their share to combat gendered ageism, but it might feel hard to oppose unjust practices on your own if you're a woman experiencing it. Certain women may not be able to address this problem on their own, but they can make progress by collaborating with other women, as they have traditionally done in the battle for equality. Join an organization that promotes professional women's rights and needs if you're a working professional woman. Finding a mentor and devising techniques to assist in navigating the position might also be helpful. Women should bring up the issue with other female coworkers as well as their human resources departments, and ask for assistance in finding solutions.
Ageism against women over 40 is real, and it hurts, especially when it comes to getting employed. Research reveals that women are the biggest victims of age discrimination in employment, according to Forbes. This implies that women are forced out of the profession earlier than males and have a considerably more difficult time returning. According to a World Income Forum analysis, it will take more than 200 years for women to close the economic gap between them and males - and that's at the present rate. There's no guarantee that the current situation for women won't deteriorate, especially in light of the recent Covid-19 outbreak and major economic crisis. Progress is made, although it might take a long period at times.
Although ageism may be the new sexism, women have gained expertise in dealing with prejudice. What is evident is that even though progress has been made, more development is required. Progressive firms must confront the issue of gendered ageism, or their diversity and inclusion policies will never live up to their aspirations. We, as women, must remind them of the importance of such policies for both them and us.
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