Three ways women are fighting back against ageism in the workplace
Are you worried that your age is affecting your career? Here are three ways women are fighting back against ageism in the workplace.
In contemporary culture, where youth and beauty are highly prized, ageing women frequently face twin obstacles of ageism and sexism in the workplace.
In this article we look at three actions women are taking to protect themselves from the consequences of ageism in the workplace.
1) Keeping their skills updated
Success in today’s workplace requires a broad skill set that must be kept updated. This is particularly true in sectors such as technology and healthcare, where new innovations and discoveries make it crucial for workers to keep up with industry news.
To remain employable, employees of any age must engage in more frequent upskilling and reskilling than ever before. To protect against “old geezer” stereotypes, it’s essential for older female workers to keep their skills fresh.
Unfortunately, this can present challenges for older workers. According to Agediversity.org, employers are typically less likely to provide training for older employees than they are to provide it for younger ones. Older employees, when asking their supervisor for training, take a risk that they may be perceived as incompetent – and this risk can mean that they are reluctant to ask their employers to provide them with training.
This puts some older workers in the position of having to seek out training on their own. On the bright side, there are numerous resources available, including podcasts, online courses, local continuing education programs, books and periodicals.
2) Beautifying, nipping and tucking
There are many cosmetic procedures that can help to minimize the signs of ageing. For example, dermal fillers can help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and fat transfers can help to perk up breasts that have begun to sag with age.
Women should never have to resort to cosmetic surgery as a weapon in the war against ageism. But sadly, there’s no denying that appearances matter in the workplace – and, for many women, beauty treatments have proven to be an effective tool in keeping up their appearances.
Forbes has reported that the recent upward trend in cosmetic surgery procedures has been linked to age discrimination; many of the women who have sought out cosmetic procedures have done so because they have been fired from a job, passed over for a promotion or denied a job because of their age.
3) Keeping detailed records of discriminatory incidents
When all else fails, lawsuits can be an effective means of protecting against age discrimination.
If you find that you are routinely being disparaged or discriminated against at work because of your age, keep detailed records of those incidents.
If any of the ageist remarks take place via emails, Slack or a similar online platform, save screenshots to a thumb drive you store at home rather than at work. If you’ve been unfairly fired from work, keep the notice as well as your performance evaluations.
It is extremely challenging to win an age discrimination lawsuit – but if you have written documentation of ageism, or an otherwise solid case, you may want to consider obtaining legal advice from a lawyer who specializes in employment issues.
In the UK, it is possible to make a claim to an employment tribunal, although it is advisable to speak with a lawyer first. In the United States, it is possible to file a charge of employment discrimination via the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Protect yourself against ageism in the workplace
These are three of the most effective ways others are fighting against age discrimination in the workplace. If you’re worried about ageism, or dealing with it yourself, these are three possible actions you could consider taking to protect yourself against ageism, too.
Photo by Munro Studio