This year, 2018, will see a number of important anniversaries in the fight for women’s equality. The first of these, today, celebrates the centenary of the extension of the vote to some women aged 30 and older.
Later in the year we’ll note
the 60th anniversary of the Life Peerages Act 1958 (30th March), which allowed women to sit in the House of Lords
the 90th anniversary of the Equal Franchise Act 1928, (2 July) which gave women the right to vote at age 21 on the same terms as men
and the 100th anniversary of the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act 1918, allowing women to stand for election to the House of Commons (21 November).
We now have laws that protect lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) people, rather than persecute them. Something to celebrate. For older people in particular, who lived through criminalisation or being diagnosed as mentally ill, this once seemed unimaginable. But the fact that lots of LGBT people still feel they have to pretend to be straight – at work, at the doctor’s, sometimes even to their family – is indication enough that we need more than legislation to encourage people to feel truly safe to be themselves. Continue reading “Safe to be me … at last? Looking at care, welfare and older LGBT people”
An astonishing transformation is taking place that has until now been absent from mainstream development thinking: global ageing. Its absence is even more surprising as the evidence makes clear that demographic changes are affecting developing countries the most.
Currently about one in ten of the population is aged 60 or over; but within a generation – 2050 – this ratio will soar to one in five. Two-thirds of the 868 million older people alive today are in developing countries; and of the 2 billion people expected to be over the age of 60 by 2050, over three-quarters will live in low and middle-income countries. The rate of change is phenomenal.
This week’s blog was contributed by Joanne Sawyer, Policy Adviser, at Age UK.
Whilst older women are a vital force in today’s workplaces, they tend to fare poorly in the labour market. They are more likely than men to be in lower paid, lower skilled, insecure or part time work and to have had one or more periods out of the labour market (such as to care for children or older relatives).
We are pleased that the Government is currently looking into how to support women throughout their working lives. It is proposing to require larger employees (of which Age UK is one) to report their gender pay gap (i.e. the percentage gap between men and women’s pay within their organisation).
For women under the age of 40, there is reason to be cheerful as the gender pay gap has broadly disappeared. But for those in their 40s and beyond, the picture is far less rosy. Women working full time in their 40s or those aged over 60 earn nearly 14% less than men. And women in their 50s earn 18% less than men, the highest of any working age group.
Not only is the gender pay gap significant during a women’s working life, but it affects her financial security, such as her pension, in later life.
Age UK believes that publishing gender pay gap information will help to shine a light on women’s lower pay throughout their working lives and their financial wellbeing in retirement. However, publishing information alone will not be enough, unless the Government and employers focus on the reasons for the pay gap and how to address them. Continue reading “Closing the gender pay gap”
Ageism is a world-wide problem and negative attitudes towards older people are pervasive in many cultures and societies, including our own. Older people are all too often stereotyped as ‘has-beens’ with no aspirations or future and even as threats to the opportunities of younger people. The direct effect of this ageism is that older people are at major risk of experiencing discriminatory treatment globally and across a wide range of situations; from undignified and inadequate care in the household, hospitals and residential homes, to unequal treatment in employment and inadequate responses in emergency and humanitarian situations.