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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ageism and Retirement

         Two years ago, I conducted a study exploring ageism in British Columbia.  It examined patterns of employment victimization, and personal rejections based on a person’s age. 
         Ageism is different from the other types of “ism” such as sexism and racism.  Unlike those forms of bias, ageism may affect anyone who lives long enough to become a target of discrimination. While there are both positive and negative aspects of ageism, by far it has negative consequences for seniors.  Because of systemic ageism we may come to incorporate ageist self stereotypes such as “I don’t feel. (your real age} I feel” … (a younger age.)
         Two of the survey questions, to which a person could agree or disagree, were directly related to employment. They were:
Being denied employment because of age. Ten percent of the people said yes and denied promotion because of age (7% replied yes).   Eight hundred and fifteen people responded to the questions.   Because the questions were standardized from another survey, I did not include: I was forced to retire because of my age.  Mandatory Retirement at least for the time being has been eliminated. But that doesn’t mean people aren’t “persuaded” against there gut feeling.
If you have been, or are being pressured or seduced into premature retirement, I’d like to hear your story. 

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