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Ageism and gender discrimination: Women face a double threat

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2024 | EMPLOYMENT LAW (EMPLOYEE) - Workplace Discrimination

There’s a saying that “men get more distinguished when they get older, but women just get old,” that resonates with women everywhere – particularly in the workplace.

Modern workplaces are supposed to encourage diversity, but ageism still unfairly locks a lot of older workers out of jobs, while sexism continues to marginalize women and keep them out of upper management positions. The intersection of the two can be downright toxic to the average woman’s career.

Women aren’t permitted to show their age in the workplace

Nearly 80% of women surveyed say that they have encountered age-related discrimination in their workplace, on top of the sexism they say is pervasive. Many report that – unlike their male counterparts – their looks are scrutinized for signs that they’re “worn out.”

Women employees report that they’re frequently told they’re “too young” for certain responsibilities and need to mature before being moved into authoritative positions, only to suddenly “age out” and be considered too old for the pressure and responsibilities. 

In the words of one person surveyed, “Ageism is so intertwined with sexism, it is hard to separate the two,” and another commented, “Women are either too young, too old, or may be in the age range of having children. All are viewed as negative.” 

If you encounter a combination of ageism and sexism in the workplace yourself, it is important to document all of your experiences so that you can fight back. If you’ve gone to human resources and accomplished nothing (or the human resources department is part of the problem), you may want to seek legal guidance.