Ageism is not only real but chances are that you will be targeted by it at one point in life or another and if that is the case, we want you to at least be aware of the fact, that what you’re experiencing is not okay.
Just like its first cousin sexism, ageism can appear in the slightest of gestures that go unnoticed or in the crudest of actions that demand a reaction. Sadly though, unlike sexism, this isn’t something you can report to the HR because there is no law to protect your tarnished self esteem from this fuckery.
“YOU ARE SITTING FOR THIS MEETING ONLY BECAUSE YOU ARE A YOUNG PRETTY GIRL. NO NEED TO TALK, LEAVE THAT TO ME.”
These are the words of a male colleague to a female colleague, both ex-employees of an Indian fashion firm (name rhymes with MOVES). Mind the fact that even though the girl was less experienced and younger; she worked at the same level as the guy who talked down to her.
The remark above is an example of the worst-case scenario when ageism and sexism join forces to take you down with the help of a jackass human.
Many Millennial women experience ageism and sexism on a daily basis. The difference however is that while they both hurt and offend just as much since sexism happens to be the more infamous of the two, most people unaware of the other low key (but equally appalling) relative ageism, only always address one issue while leaving the other as a complementary jab.
You also need to keep in mind that like sexism victimises all genders (not just both, all!!), similarly ageism targets both the younger generation as well as the older one.
Global tech giant IBM strategically shed around 20,000 employees over the age of 40 over the last couple of years. That is ageism! When people consider that a youngster's (relatively young btw!) insight is actually just a senseless fluke that deserves no attention, that is also ageism!
In a now-retracted tweet, Ariel Troster says -
“I knew VICE was douchey from the day it launched when I was a student in Montreal : the company’s hiring strategy had a “22 rule”, Hire 22 year olds, pay them $22000 and work them 22 hours a day.”
The above tweet is again a clear example of how ageist your employer can be by exploiting your young energy by underpaying you and over slogging you. There needs to be a dialogue about this horrible discrimination. So the next time you catch up over coffee with colleagues and everybody agrees on being underpaid, it's probably true and it's also high time to have that chat with your employer about it.
UNLESS YOU RECOGNISE INJUSTICE, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO FIGHT IT!