“Never-right-age-bias”: Age discrimination still influences the perception of women in the professional world. “Superiors find reasons for every age to stigmatize women based on their age,” says FEMOTION RADIO.

“Women in leadership positions never seem to have the right age for their careers: While younger women are often not taken seriously and are sometimes mistaken for interns or secretaries, older women are signaled that they are no longer up to date and therefore cannot be promoted. The authors of a survey of 913 female executives from the USA refer to this phenomenon as ‘gendered ageism’ or ‘never-right age bias’,” wrote manager magazin in September 2023 about the study results in the Harvard Business Review.

From a LI post by herCAREER: “One study participant stated: ‘While men become sources of wisdom with age, older women are considered outdated, cantankerous, or shrill.’ Another (34) said, ‘I am often told that I lack experience and therefore cannot know what to do.’ For women in their late forties, it was said that they could not be hired because they had ‘too many family obligations’ and their menopause was imminent. And a candidate over 50 allegedly appeared ‘not lively enough’. The job then went to a similarly aged man.”

Age discrimination exists in all genders, according to Tijen Onaran on LI. However, these examples show how ageism and sexism can interact.

Michaela Ernst, MBA from SHEconomy, sees in these attributions a “curriculum vitae of inadequacies, tied to the biological clock”. She contrasts the “typical women’s life” with a “typical men’s life”, which actually doesn’t look much better – often with educational deficits, midlife crises, menopause equivalents…

“Despite this professional ineptitude parity between men and women, the career prospects for men currently (still) look better. The reasons for this are well known: they have a historical advantage in networking and upward striving. Once they have their goal in sight, they are also not easily unsettled like women (…). This is partly due to an upbringing that still tends to devalue demanding, somewhat louder girls (…). On the other hand, it’s due to corporate cultures that promote aggressively assertive behavior much more than those that rely on exchange and teamwork.”

To remain competitive in the long term, companies would need to embrace a paradigm shift.
And it would benefit us all if we daily remember, “Despite unpleasant studies in mind: Keep going!”

HBR: “We can stop stigmatizing women’s age — benefiting not just women, but the whole organization. Age diversity in the workplace yields better organizational performance.”

herVIEW - Natascha Hoffner

Posted by Natascha Hoffner, Founder & CEO of herCAREER, WiWo columnist, LinkedIn TOP Voice 2020, W&V 2019 – 100 Köpfe
published on LinkedIn on 05.03.2024