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Study Reveals “Gendered Ageism” at Work is Alive and Well

Study Reveals “Gendered Ageism” at Work is Alive and Well

Older Women at Work

A recent study confirms, there isn’t a universal “sweet spot” for working women, as age discrimination can strike at any stage of their careers.

Original content appeared on Huffpost, written by Monica Torres on July 11, 2023.

Unlike men, who often hit their professional peak in their 40s and 50s, women continuously face gendered age biases throughout their journey. A recent preliminary study by Harvard Business Review dishes maddening details.

The research, conducted by Amy Diehl, Leanne M. Dzubinski, and Amber L. Stephenson, surveyed 913 women leaders across various fields, revealing the persistence of age-based biases in workplaces. For women under 40, their experience and credibility are often dismissed due to their age, while those aged 40 to 60, considered middle-aged, continue to confront gendered ageism.

Interestingly, while age discrimination is a recognized issue, it’s often more overt than other forms of bias. The study highlights instances where gendered ageist comments are openly shared during hiring processes. For instance, some search committees declined to hire women in their late forties or 50s based on stereotypes related to family responsibility and menopause, while similarly aged men secured the jobs. This reveals how deeply entrenched these biases are and how they are expressed even at the decision-making level.

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The study’s findings underscore the importance of allies standing up against these biases in real-time, promoting inclusivity and fairness. Systemic changes are crucial to curbing gendered ageism in the workplace, but it’s a collective effort involving everyone to foster a more equitable environment.

Ultimately, addressing age discrimination not only empowers women to recognize their value but also drives the necessary cultural shift towards a fair and inclusive professional landscape.

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