Ageism is perceived as alive and well across genders. I asked no age-specific question during interviews. Respondents brought it up spontaneously. “I’m seen as too old” was how one female bank manager felt. “They don’t take me as seriously as the guys” was the alternate experience of a younger female respondent. While men undoubtedly face the same issue, I got the feeling of ageism as a double-whammy for women. It’s more of I’m the wrong age AND I’m female.
A more trivial example: being over 50 myself, I find that despite the opportunity lockdown has presented to finally let my greys show, I’m not quite ready to quit dying my hair. Am I suffering from pressure to be seen as young enough to be relevant, or am I reinforcing the prejudice? (Maybe a bit of both?)
Ageism prejudice is broader than the perception of tech companies only hire people under 30. Ashton Applewhite has a really interesting take on the subject. Her 10-minute, Let’s End Ageism, TED Talk is worth watching all the way through. You may not agree with everything she says, but I’m pretty sure she’ll challenge your thinking. https://bit.ly/3jlT6Dn
The final blog in my Women in Leadership interviews is next: How I show leadership now?