Let’s Challenge Our Assumptions About Age and Gender Bias
Do you sometimes feel invisible? Do you sometimes feel that your opinions don’t matter? Me, too. I have some suggestions for you, but first, a little context.
I am attuned to the challenges women face, especially as they get older. Why? I am that woman. I live and work in this space.
Lately, I have been thinking about the topics of gender and age bias. Though it may be a bit more challenging to take on some of these great ideas later on in our lives, it is not impossible.
Both men and women can do so much more together to mitigate gender and age bias, to promote gender equity and age equality. Isn’t that what everyone wants?
We all want to be recognized as worthy, to be deemed equal to our peers, to be accepted without limits or judgment, and to be paid the same amount as our male counterparts for the same work.
Everyone, regardless of age or gender wants to be relevant, resilient and remarkable. A recent article in The New York Times highlights how four organizations are doing the right thing by including workers over ‘that certain age.’
The article also recognized the nominees of the Age Smart Awards, an initiative of the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.
It is not acceptable to simply not consider someone with experience and knowledge because of age, gap in employment and/or gender. Organizations are missing out. Age discrimination or any type of discrimination is not good for business, politics and society.
So, what can we do? Here are some suggestions for you.
Organizational Perspective on Gender and Age Bias
If you work for an organization or are a business owner/founder, look at your hiring practices. Consider your succession plans, your talent development approaches, your marketing/PR programs and your Board makeup.
There are many places where an organization can make changes to be more age and gender inclusive.
Individual Perspective on Age and Gender Bias
If you are telling yourself you are too old to apply for a new job – or ask for a raise or a promotion, or run a marathon, or learn to swim, or travel alone, or date, or move to a new city – or anything else, remember: you are not too old.
You have accumulated years of relevant experience. Now you need to find ways to increase your self-confidence, expand your circle of potential and shift your perspective.
It is a subtle shift in perspective, but one that allows for the acceptance and appreciation of all our past experiences. Now you are able to leverage them in a way that adds value and infuses your future capabilities. You will then stand strong in your personal and professional narrative.
You have value. Your voice matters. Your opinions matter. You matter. Stand up, show up and speak up.
Living our lives sometimes requires us to dig deep and do things that may be uncomfortable or unfamiliar. You cannot achieve without stepping out of your comfort zone.
You need to find your courage, tenacity and self-assurance in order to break through the glass in front of or above you. Don’t let age or gender bias get in your way.
Theodore Roosevelt spoke these words many years ago, and they still resonate so loudly – for women, too:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again.”
Do you sometimes feel invisible? Do you sometimes feel that your opinions don’t matter? How do you deal with such situations? What are your thoughts about age and gender bias in today’s world? Please share your wisdom with our community.