Blog written by Emily McCarron, Policy Manager for Equality and Human Rights, Age UK
Birthday cards that mock ageing; negative comments about ‘looking old’ we make about ourselves and others; stereotypical depictions of older people in popular culture and in the media. If we were to make similar comments about gender or race, this would be (rightly) seen as unacceptable and offensive. However, negativity about ageing and older people is pervasive in our society. This is ageism and what might seem like just a joke in a birthday card, can seriously undermine the human rights of older people.
1st October – UK Older People’s Day and the UN International Day of Older Persons – saw the launch of a petition against age discrimination in the labour market. With age discrimination in employment made unlawful in the UK since 2006, it may come as a surprise to learn that this is needed, yet age discrimination in the job recruitment process seems to be a common experience.
The idea for the petition – led by TAEN – The Age and Employment Network – came after increasing evidence that age discrimination carries on regardless when people are recruited into new jobs.
1 October is the International Day of Older Persons. Age International sees this as a time to celebrate the achievements of older people and a time to celebrate increased life expectancy around the world.
Population ageing is one of the most significant trends of the 21st century. With 1 in 9 persons in the world aged 60 years or over, projected to increase to 1 in 5 by 2050, population ageing is a phenomenon that can no longer be ignored.
It has important and far-reaching implications for all aspects of society.
Population ageing is happening in all regions and countries at various levels of development. It is progressing fastest in developing countries, including those that have a large population of young people. Of the current 15 countries with more than 10 million older persons, seven of these are developing countries.