October '22

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ere are many ways to experience ageism, but three of the most common are: 1.) Institutional ageism when a company or institution per- petuates ageism through its policies and actions 2.) Interpersonal ageism, which occurs when people interact socially 3.) Internalized ageism, which is when a person applies ageist beliefs to themselves Hostile ageism, which would be something like believing that all teenagers are violent and dangerous, and benevolent ageism, which would involve beliefs like all adults over 80 are childlike and incapable of taking care of themselves, are also parts of the spectrum of ageist beliefs. While most people tend to believe that ageism is a problem that only impacts older adults, it can impact anyone at any age. Believing that younger workers will be less productive or less responsible is just as ageist and harmful as believing older workers are out of touch and unable to keep up with the latest techniques or technology. So now, you might be wondering, exactly how prevalent is ageism, especially when it comes to older people? In the 2020 National Poll on Healthy Aging done by the University of Michigan's Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, it was found that 82% of older Americans reported experiencing ageism regularly; 65% had seen ageist messages in the media; 45% had experienced interpersonal ageism; and 36% had internalized ageism. Whether the ageism is explicit, meaning the person with ageist views is aware of those views, or implicit, meaning some- one acts on ageist views but may not be aware of what's motivat- ing their actions, it's clear that ageism is an issue, and one that impacts virtually our entire population of older people. AGE DISCRIMINATION Obviously, most people know that age discrimination, one side effect of ageism, is illegal at any stage of employment, whether it involves hiring someone, promoting someone, giving a person a raise, or laying people off. Laws also prohibit workplace harass- ment because of age. e Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) is still the prevailing law when it comes to how workers 40 and up are legally supposed to be treated, but the rules created by the law, and how those rules should be inter- preted and followed aren't always clear. For instance, most people think that it is illegal for prospec- tive employers to ask your age or your graduation date from high school or college, but it isn't. You can try to deflect the question if it makes you uncomfortable, but the interviewer has the right to ask it. ings are also made more difficult by a 2009 Supreme Court ruling (Gross v. FBL Financial Services), which makes it harder for older workers who have experienced discrimination to get justice in a court. e Supreme Court said that plaintiffs must meet a higher standard of proof for age discrimination than for other types of discrimination. Being held to a higher stan- dard makes it more difficult to prove discrimination happened and to pursue relief. Prevailing attitudes about gender can also cause problems when it comes to ageism. 72% of women between 45 and 74 say they think people face age discrimination at work, while only 57% of men have the same view. e combination of age prejudice and gender prejudice is called gendered ageism, and it impacts many older women in the workplace. As they age, and start to show signs of aging, women are more likely to be perceived as less com- petent, less valuable, and even irrelevant. ese perceptions and G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M O C T O B E R 2 0 2 2 • G R A P H I C S P R O 7 5 1 2 3 4 5 Check Yourself Train Yourself and Your Employees (If You Have Them) Actively Pursue Diversity Don't Make Assumptions Based on Appearance Watch for Social Cues 82% of older Americans reported experiencing ageism regularly.

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