Have you ever heard about ageism?

“Ageism” term was coined by the gerontologist Robert Butler (1969) to define a form of intolerance related to age, to connotations similar to racism and sexism, addressed to elderly people. Palmore (1999) broadened the use of the term to prejudice or discrimination against or in favor of an age group.

In the United States, the subject has been discussed since the 1960s in various contexts. To give an idea, in 1967, US Congress enacted the Age Discrimination in Employment Act in order to protect workers over the age of 40, which was an important step in the fight against institutional ageism, practiced by institutions or organizations through their policies and practices.

In Brazil, the subject is new and little known out of the academic scope, although changes indicated by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) point to significant transformations in our age pyramid: drop in fertility and mortality rates and increase in life expectancy. These factors will impact Brazilian society in general and organizations specifically.

Age diversity emerges as a way of confronting this new scenario. The challenge is to break with prejudice: discussing ageism is the first step towards it.

Fran Winandy