What causes ageism to exist to this day?
Not all people are aware or able to fully comprehend how complex, widespread, and potentially damaging the phenomenon of ageism is. Dr. Williams from the University of Melbourne is an expert on the relationship between age and the job market. She explains ageism’s various harmful effects. “It is a problem for seniors who are being judged without reference to their own personal skills and qualities. Assumptions are made about older adults as they are seen to be a member of a particular group, much like the biased assumptions sometimes made against others based on their race, sex or other characteristics.”
And like racism and sexism, ageism is a social and economic issue. In 2017, 15 percent of the Australian population was above 65, while in 1977, it was 9 percent. By 2057, it’s expected to be about 22 percent. The wise thing to do is to remain vigilant, recognize stereotyping, and avoid assumptions about an age group.
One of the reasons ageism exists is because of culture. We are living in a youth-obsessed world. The rise of technology has led to hiring biases. Many companies think that younger people will be more tech-savvy. The other reason for ageism is that most companies do not understand that older workers own a lot of knowledge and experience, which is worth paying. The screening algorithm automatically disqualifies you because of your age in most online jobs.
The reason is we have never dealt with it the way we should. In my opinion, the government is happier to deal with a tax audit of a company instead of human rights violations at the workplace. If they wanted to solve the issue, they’d already taken severe action against it. I’m aware that there are numerous laws and regulations to reduce it in society. Still, to my knowledge and experience, they didn’t do much about forcing companies and organizations to comply with those laws.
On the other hand, from a cultural perspective, it doesn’t matter how much you teach your people to be thoughtful about seniors’ rights because non-cultural factors such as the economy are still prolonging the existence of age discrimination. It’s a no-brainer that hiring the younger workforce is much more favourable and cost-friendlier than employing older workers. Private investors and the government still control the schools, so whoever has the money to fund them has more influence. We all know it exists, and I don’t think it will go away any time soon, at least the way we know it.
Honestly, we’re the only reason! We people are the ones who build societies. Every right and wrong concept comes from our behaviours. The reason ageism still exists is that we decided to preserve it. Plus, we never really fight it. At best, we acknowledge the problems caused by age discrimination and disapprove of it, but we never show our disapproval through our actions. And since we, as a society, never take the initiative to deal with this issue, the government never really responds or addresses it adequately either.