Ageism throughout women’s life

The feeling of unease with prejudice in different areas is something that has been with me since childhood, something that shaped who I am as a person and gradually made me embrace other causes related to what is called today Diversity.

When I was young, in a job interview, I was asked about when I intended to have children. My blunt reply to the Human Resources director made him apologize and tell me that I was the right person for the job, because professionals from Human Resources area must have a critical sense! 

The fact is that Ageism, or age prejudice, rarely operates in isolation and accompanies us, women, throughout our lives. When young, the issue of pregnancy is still a matter of concern for some more traditional managers.

When we have small children, prejudice hangs over us again: will we be able to deal with it? No matter how well we manage to balance work life with diapers, pediatricians, fevers, and school presentations, at the first sign of domestic interference at work, our male colleagues look sideways and comment among themselves how protected and privileged we are in the company, forgetting about their own mothers, wives, or daughters.

When the children finally grow up, things seem to be calmer for us: we manage to take some short courses, start a graduate course, or even go to the gym. But then parents and parents-in-law start to grow old and often have health problems. In these cases, the burden usually falls on us, women, who, used to domestic logistics, shelter the elderly in this new stage.

And our children, who today tend to remain comfortably installed at home until they are 25, 30, sometimes have their children on their own, voluntarily or not, and are not always able to afford a family financially and emotionally. And here we go, mothers, daughters and now grandparents, to deal with this situation without any major issues, after all, we are already used to getting a head start and making it happen!

As life goes on, ageism happens, bringing inexplicably petty situations to everyone, but especially to us, women, who, in addition to all that, still have to remember to dye our hair, put on makeup and stay in shape.

Think about it when someone in your company says: "- She is an excellent person, but she could take better care of herself!".

Fran Winandy