Why Ageism is Becoming the Newest #Metoo Movement for Women

While there are so many statistics on the gender wage gap and the way women are on the receiving of this at work, however, these research reports do not capture the real experiences of professional women on the daily. The truth is that sexism at the workplace has gotten so much attention by the media in the past, that other struggles of women have been ignored, one of them being ageism. Today, ageism against women is being touted as the next #MeToo movement as more and more companies continue to disregard older women employees since only 8 percent of companies consider age when they design diversity and inclusion drives.

“All this is happening within a culture that reveres — even worships — its youth”

Ask the average working woman and she’ll tell you that she is quite aware of all the struggles women go through in their career trajectory, however, few will mention age discrimination and for most, it’s not even at the back of their minds unless the woman is older. The Riveter said, “All this is happening within a culture that reveres — even worships — its youth and often prioritizes the “new” way of doing things rather than the tried-and-true methods. (This topic was covered in the 2015 film, The Intern, in which Robert DeNiro’s retiree character becomes an intern for Anne Hathaway’s character at her millennial-focused startup.)” Hence, if you are an older worker, or know women who are older at work, you might want to consider how older people, particularly older women are being treated in the workplace. According to research by AARP whose hashtag is #DisruptAging, almost two out of three workers in the US who are above the age of 45 have faced and witnessed age discrimination. 

Baby boomer women also have a lot to offer because all voices need to be heard, not just a select few

So, why is age diversity important in the workplace and why is it vital that companies deal with age discrimination issues? “The aging consumer market is emerging, according to Barron’s, as “the mother of all untapped markets.” In 2015, the world’s population over 65 was at a historical high of over 600 million people. The UN projected that this number would hit a full billion by 2030 and 1.6 billion by 2050,” revealed Forbes. Hence, there is no one better equipped to represent this market that women of this age group. While there is nothing wrong with having millennial and Generation Z women at the table, baby boomer women also have a lot to offer because all voices need to be heard, not just a select few. Fast Company’s Eillie Anzilotti said, “Higher rates of employed elderly people generally denote strong economic circumstances—which correspond with more jobs for younger workers.”  However, age discrimination is something that is hard to prove and therefore, women must show evidence for it, like agist language used by coworkers and managers and even if you’re being skimmed over for promotions and training.

Image credit: Canberra and trees

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