Ageism

Ageism

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Ageism, also called age discrimination is stereotyping of and discrimination
Discrimination
Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group. The term began to be...

 against individuals or groups because of their age. It is a set of beliefs, attitudes, norms, and values used to justify age based prejudice, discrimination, and subordination. This may be casual or systematic.
The term was coined in 1968 by Robert Neil Butler
Robert Neil Butler
Robert Neil Butler was a physician, gerontologist, psychiatrist, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, who was the first director of the National Institute on Aging...

 to describe discrimination against seniors
Old age
Old age consists of ages nearing or surpassing the average life span of human beings, and thus the end of the human life cycle...

, and patterned on sexism
Sexism
Sexism, also known as gender discrimination or sex discrimination, is the application of the belief or attitude that there are characteristics implicit to one's gender that indirectly affect one's abilities in unrelated areas...

 and racism
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

. Butler defined ageism as a combination of three connected elements. Among them were prejudicial attitudes towards older people, old age, and the aging process
Ageing
Ageing or aging is the accumulation of changes in a person over time. Ageing in humans refers to a multidimensional process of physical, psychological, and social change. Some dimensions of ageing grow and expand over time, while others decline...

; discriminatory practices against older people; and institutional practices and policies that perpetuate stereotypes about older people
The term has also been used to describe prejudice and discrimination against adolescents and child
Child
Biologically, a child is generally a human between the stages of birth and puberty. Some vernacular definitions of a child include the fetus, as being an unborn child. The legal definition of "child" generally refers to a minor, otherwise known as a person younger than the age of majority...

ren, including ignoring their ideas because they are too young, or assuming that they should behave in certain ways because of their age.

Ageism in common parlance and age studies usually refers to negative discriminatory practices against old people, people in their middle years, teenagers and children. There are several forms of age-related bias. Adultism
Adultism
Adultism has been defined as "the power adults have over children". More narrowly, 'adultism is prejudice and accompanying systematic discrimination against young people'...

 is a predisposition towards adults, which is seen as biased against children, youth, and all young people who are not addressed or viewed as adults. Jeunism is the discrimination against older people in favor of younger ones. This includes political candidacies, jobs, and cultural settings where the supposed greater vitality and/or physical beauty
Human physical appearance
Human physical appearance refers to the outward phenotype or look of human beings. There are infinite variations in human phenotypes, though society reduces the variability to distinct categories...

 of youth is more appreciated than the supposed greater moral and/or intellectual rigor of adulthood. Adultcentricism is the "exaggerated egocentrism
Egocentrism
Egocentrism is a personality trait which has the characteristic of regarding oneself and one's own opinions or interests as most important or valid...

 of adults." Adultocracy is the social convention
Convention (norm)
A convention is a set of agreed, stipulated or generally accepted standards, norms, social norms or criteria, often taking the form of a custom....

 which defines "maturity" and "immaturity," placing adults in a dominant position over young people
Youth
Youth is the time of life between childhood and adulthood . Definitions of the specific age range that constitutes youth vary. An individual's actual maturity may not correspond to their chronological age, as immature individuals could exist at all ages.-Usage:Around the world, the terms "youth",...

, both theoretically and practically. Gerontocracy
Gerontocracy
A gerontocracy is a form of oligarchical rule in which an entity is ruled by leaders who are significantly older than most of the adult population. Often the political structure is such that political power within the ruling class accumulates with age, so that the oldest hold the most power...

 is a form of oligarchical rule in which an entity is ruled by leaders who are significantly older than most of the adult population. Chronocentrism
Chronocentrism
Chronocentrism or Chronocentricity has been defined as "the egotism that one's own generation is poised on the very cusp of history."...

 is primarily the belief that a certain state of humanity is superior to all previous and/or future times.

Other conditions of fear or aversion associated with age groups have their own names, particularly: Pedophobia, the fear of infants and children; Ephebiphobia
Ephebiphobia
The fear of youth is called ephebiphobia. First coined as the "fear and loathing of teenagers," today the phenomenon is recognized as the "inaccurate, exaggerated and sensational characterization of young people" in a range of settings around the world...

, the fear of youth, sometimes also referred as an irrational fear of adolescents or a prejudice against teenagers; and Gerontophobia
Gerontophobia
Gerontophobia is the fear of growing old, or a hatred or fear of the elderly.-Indicators:Ken Dychtwald identifies seven markers that can make up this phobia in chapter two of Age Wave: How the Most Important Trend of Our Time Will Change Your Future:...

, the fear of elderly people.

Implicit ageism


Implicit ageism is the term used to refer to the implicit or unconscious thoughts, feelings, and behaviors one has about older or younger people. These may be a mixture of positive and negative thoughts and feelings, but gerontologist Becca Levy
Becca Levy
Becca R. Levy is an associate professor of epidemiology and social psychology at Yale University. She is a leading researcher in the fields of social gerontology and psychology of aging. She has conducted foundational research on how self-stereotypes operate and how older individuals are...

 reports that they “tend to be mostly negative.”

One way that implicit people with deficiencies in intellect, cognitive and physical performance, and other areas required for autonomous, daily functioning. People who engage in this type of speech treat older members of society as if they have regressed to an infantile state, or treat younger members of society as if they have never progressed beyond an infantile state.

Ageist stereotyping


Ageist stereotyping is a tool of cognition which involves categorizing into groups and attributing characteristics to these groups. Stereotypes are necessary for processing huge volumes of information which would otherwise overload a person, and they are often based on a "grain of truth" (for example, the association between aging and ill health). However, they cause harm when the content of the stereotype is incorrect with respect to most of the group or where a stereotype is so strongly held that it overrides evidence which shows that an individual does not conform to it. For example, age-based stereotypes prime one to draw very different conclusions when one sees an older and a younger adult with, say, back pain or a limp. One might well assume that the younger person’s condition is temporary and treatable, following an accident, while the older person’s condition is chronic and less susceptible to intervention. On average, this might be true, but plenty of older people have accidents and recover quickly and really young people (such as infants, toddlers and small children) can become permanently disabled in the same situation. This assumption may have no consequence if one makes it in the blink of an eye as one is passing someone in the street, but if it is held by a health professional offering treatment or managers thinking about occupational health, it could inappropriately influence their actions and lead to age-related discrimination. Another example is when people are rude to children because of their high pitched voice, even if they are kind and courteous. A review of the research literatuare related to age stereotypes in the workplace was recently published in the Journal of Management (Posthuma, R. A., & Campion, M. A. (2009). Age stereotyping in the workplace: Common stereotypes, moderators, and future research directions. Journal of Management, 35, 158-188).

Ageist prejudice


Ageist prejudice is a type of emotion which is often linked to the cognitive process of stereotyping. It can involve the expression of derogatory attitudes, which may then lead to the use of discriminatory behavior. Where older or younger contestants were rejected in the belief that they were poor performers, this could well be the result of stereotyping. But older people were also voted for at the stage in the game where it made sense to target the best performers. This can only be explained by a subconscious emotional reaction to older people; in this case, the prejudice took the form of distaste and a desire to exclude oneself from the company of older people.

Benevolent prejudice


Stereotyping and prejudice against different groups in society does not take the same form. Age-based prejudice and stereotyping usually involves older or younger people being pitied, marginalized, or patronized. This is described as "benevolent prejudice" because the tendency to pity is linked to seeing older or younger people as "friendly" but "incompetent." This is similar to the prejudice most often directed against women and disabled people. Age Concern
Age Concern
Age Concern was the banner title used by a number of charitable organisations specifically concerned with the needs and interests of all older people based chiefly in the four countries of the United Kingdom....

’s survey revealed strong evidence of "benevolent prejudice." 48% said that over-70s are viewed as friendly (compared to 27% who said the same about under-30s). Meanwhile, only 26% believe over-70s are viewed as capable (with 41% saying the same about under-30s).

Hostile prejudice


"Hostile prejudice" based on hatred, fear, aversion, or threat often characterizes attitudes linked to race, religion, disability, and sexual orientation. An example of hostile prejudice toward youth is when someone presumes that a young person committed a crime without any evidence. Rhetoric regarding intergenerational competition can be motivated by politics. Violence against vulnerable older people can be motivated by subconscious hostility or fear; or, within families, by impatience and lack of understanding. Equality campaigners are often wary of drawing comparisons between different forms of inequality. But it is unquestionably true that abuse and neglect experienced by vulnerable older people (which is closely linked to hostile prejudice) kills more people each year than the shocking but relatively isolated cases of public violence motivated by race, religion, or sexual orientation.

The impact of "benevolent" and "hostile" prejudice tends to be different. The warmth felt towards older or younger people and the knowledge that many have no access to paid employment means there is often public acceptance that they are deserving of preferential treatment—for example, less expensive movie and bus fares. But the perception of incompetence means older and younger people can be seen as "not up to the job" or "a menace on the roads," when there is little or exaggerated evidence to support this. Prejudice also leads to assumptions that it is "natural" for older or younger people to have lower expectations, reduced choice and control, and less account taken of their views.

Discrimination


Age discrimination refers to the actions taken to deny or limit opportunities to people on the basis of age. These are usually actions taken as a result of one’s ageist beliefs and attitudes. Age discrimination occurs on both a personal and institutional level.

On a personal level, an older person may be told that he or she is too old to engage in certain physical activities, like an informal game of basketball between friends and family. A younger person may be told they are too young to get a job or help move the dining room table. On an institutional level, there are policies and regulations in place that limit opportunities to people of certain ages and deny them to all others. The law, for instance, requires that all young persons must be at least 16 years old in order to obtain a driver’s license in the United States. There are also government regulations that determine when a worker may retire. Currently, in the US, a worker must be 67 years old before becoming eligible for Social Security retirement benefits, but some company pension plans begin benefits at earlier ages.

A 2006/2007 survey done by the Children's Rights Alliance for England and the National Children's Bureau asked 4,060 children and young people whether they have ever been treated unfairly based on various criteria (race, age, sex, sexual orientation, etc.). A total of 43% of British youth surveyed reported experiencing discrimination based on their age, far eclipsing other categories of discrimination like sex (27%), race (11%), or sexual orientation (6%).

Ageism has significant effects in two particular sectors: employment and health care.
Employment

The concept of ageism was originally developed to refer to prejudice and discrimination against older people and middle age, but has expanded to include children and teenagers.

Like racial
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

 and gender discrimination, age discrimination, at least when it affects younger workers, can result in unequal pay for equal work. Unlike racial and gender discrimination, however, age discrimination in wages is often enshrined in law. For example, in both the United States and the United Kingdom minimum wage
Minimum wage
A minimum wage is the lowest hourly, daily or monthly remuneration that employers may legally pay to workers. Equivalently, it is the lowest wage at which workers may sell their labour. Although minimum wage laws are in effect in a great many jurisdictions, there are differences of opinion about...

 laws allow for employers to pay lower wages to young workers. Many state and local minimum wage laws mirror such an age-based, tiered minimum wage. Midlife workers, on average, make more than younger workers do, which reflects educational achievement and experience of various kinds (job-specific, industry-specific, etc.). The age-wage peak in the United States, according to Census data, is between 45 and 54 years of age. Seniority in general accords with respect as people age, lessening ageism.

Statistical discrimination refers to limiting the employment opportunities of an individual based on stereotypes of a group to which the person belongs. Limited employment opportunities could come in the form of lower pay for equal work or jobs with little social mobility
Social mobility
Social mobility refers to the movement of people in a population from one social class or economic level to another. It typically refers to vertical mobility -- movement of individuals or groups up from one socio-economic level to another, often by changing jobs or marrying; but can also refer to...

. Younger female workers were historically discriminated against, in comparison with younger men, because it was expected that, as young women of childbearing years, they would need to leave the work force permanently or periodically to have children.

Labor regulations also limit the age at which people are allowed to work and how many hours and under what conditions they may work. In the United States, a person must generally be at least 14 years old to seek a job, and workers face additional restrictions on their work activities until they reach age 16. Many companies refuse to hire workers younger than 18.

While older workers benefit more often from higher wages than do younger workers, they face barriers in promotions and hiring. Employers also encourage early retirement
Retirement
Retirement is the point where a person stops employment completely. A person may also semi-retire by reducing work hours.Many people choose to retire when they are eligible for private or public pension benefits, although some are forced to retire when physical conditions don't allow the person to...

 or layoff
Layoff
Layoff , also called redundancy in the UK, is the temporary suspension or permanent termination of employment of an employee or a group of employees for business reasons, such as when certain positions are no longer necessary or when a business slow-down occurs...

s disproportionately more for older or more experienced workers.

Age discrimination in hiring has been shown to exist in the United States. Joanna Lahey, professor at The Bush School of Government and Public Service
The Bush School of Government and Public Service
The Bush School of Government and Public Service is a graduate public affairs school at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. It is named for the 41st U.S. President, George H.W. Bush. The Bush School is part of the George Bush Presidential Library complex...

 at Texas A&M, found that firms are more than 40% more likely to interview a young adult job applicant than an older job applicant.

In a survey for the University of Kent
University of Kent
The University of Kent, previously the University of Kent at Canterbury, is a public research university based in Kent, United Kingdom...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, 29% of respondents stated that they had suffered from age discrimination. This is a higher proportion than for gender
Sexism
Sexism, also known as gender discrimination or sex discrimination, is the application of the belief or attitude that there are characteristics implicit to one's gender that indirectly affect one's abilities in unrelated areas...

 or racial
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

 discrimination. Dominic Abrams, social psychology
Social psychology
Social psychology is the scientific study of how people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others. By this definition, scientific refers to the empirical method of investigation. The terms thoughts, feelings, and behaviors include all...

 professor at the university, concluded that ageism is the most pervasive form of prejudice experienced in the UK population.

According to Dr. Robert M. McCann, an associate professor of management communication at the University of Southern California
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is a private, not-for-profit, nonsectarian, research university located in Los Angeles, California, United States. USC was founded in 1880, making it California's oldest private research university...

’s Marshall School of Business
Marshall School of Business
The USC Marshall School of Business is a private research and academic institution at the University of Southern California. It is the largest of USC's 17 professional schools. The current Dean is James G. Ellis. In 1997 the school was renamed following a US$35 million donation from alumnus Gordon S...

, denigrating older workers, even if only subtly, can have an outsized negative impact on employee productivity and corporate profits. For American corporations, age discrimination can lead to significant expenses. In Fiscal Year 2006, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is an independent federal law enforcement agency that enforces laws against workplace discrimination. The EEOC investigates discrimination complaints based on an individual's race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, perceived intelligence,...

 received nearly 17,000 charges of age discrimination, resolving more than 14,000 and recovering $51.5 million in monetary benefits. Costs from lawsuit settlements and judgments can run into the millions, most notably with the $250 million paid by the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS)
CalPERS
The California Public Employees' Retirement System or CalPERS is an agency in the California executive branch that "manages pension and health benefits for more than 1.6 million California public employees, retirees, and their families"...

 under a settlement agreement in 2003.

In the UK, age discrimination againist older people has been prohibited in employment since 2006. Since then, the number of age discrimination cases has risen dramatically. The laws protect the anyone over the age of 16 who is young as well as old. There were over 5,200 claims submitted to the Employment Tribunal in 2009/2010 compared to just 900 in 2006/2007 (immediately after the Regulations came in force).

Some political offices have qualifications that discriminate on the basis of age as a proxy for experience, education, or accumulated wisdom. For example, the President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 must be at least 35 years old; a United States Senator must be at least 30; and a United States Congressman must be at least 25.
Healthcare

There is considerable evidence of discrimination against the elderly in health care. This is particularly true for aspects of the physician-patient interaction, such as screening procedures, information exchanges, and treatment decisions. In the patient-physician interaction, physicians and other health care providers may hold attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that are associated with ageism against older patients. Studies have found that physicians often do not seem to show any care or concern toward treating the medical problems of older people. Then, when actually interacting with these older patients on the job, the doctors sometimes view them with disgust and describe them in negative ways, such as "depressing" or "crazy." For screening procedures, elderly people are less likely than younger people to be screened for cancers and, due to the lack of this preventative measure, less likely to be diagnosed at early stages of their conditions.

After being diagnosed with a disease that may be potentially curable, older people are further discriminated against. Though there may be surgeries or operations with high survival rates that might cure their condition, older patients are less likely than younger patients to receive all the necessary treatments. It has been posited that this is because doctors fear their older patients are not physically strong enough to tolerate the curative treatments and are more likely to have complications during surgery that may end in death. However, other studies have been done with patients with heart disease, and, in these cases, the older patients were still less likely to receive further tests or treatments, independent of the severity of their health problems. Thus, the approach to the treatment of older people is concentrated on managing the disease rather than preventing or curing it. This is based on the stereotype that it is the natural process of aging for the quality of health to decrease, and, therefore, there is no point in attempting to prevent the inevitable decline of old age.

Differential medical treatment of elderly people can have significant effects on their health outcomes, a differential outcome which somehow escapes established protections against ageism.

Effects of ageism


Ageism has significant effects on the elderly and young people. The stereotypes and infantilization of older and younger people by patronizing language affects older and younger people’s self-esteem and behaviors. After repeatedly hearing a stereotype that older or younger people are useless, older and younger people may begin to feel like dependent, non-contributing members of society. They may start to perceive themselves in terms of the looking-glass self--that is, in the same ways that others in society see them. Studies have also specifically shown that when older and younger people hear these stereotypes about their supposed incompetence and uselessness, they perform worse on measures of competence and memory. These stereotypes then become self-fulfilling prophecies. According to Becca Levy
Becca Levy
Becca R. Levy is an associate professor of epidemiology and social psychology at Yale University. She is a leading researcher in the fields of social gerontology and psychology of aging. She has conducted foundational research on how self-stereotypes operate and how older individuals are...

's Stereotype Embodiment Theory
Stereotype embodiment theory
Stereotype Embodiment Theory is a theoretical model first posited by Psychologist Becca Levy to explain the process by which age stereotypes influence the health of older adults....

, older and younger people may also engage in self-stereotypes, taking their culture’s age stereotypes—to which they have been exposed over the life course—and directing them inward toward themselves. Then this behavior reinforces the present stereotypes and treatment of the elderly.

Many overcome these stereotypes and live the way they want, but it can be difficult to avoid deeply ingrained prejudice, especially if one has been exposed to ageist views in childhood or adolescence.

Australia


Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 has had age discrimination laws for some time. The government strengthened these laws in 2011 and created the position of age discrimination commissioner, responsible for raising awareness among employers about the benefits that senior Australians as well as younger employees can make in the workforce.

Canada


In Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Article 718.2, clause (a)(i), of the Criminal Code
Criminal Code
A criminal code is a document which compiles all, or a significant amount of, a particular jurisdiction's criminal law...

 defines as aggravating circumstances, among other situations, “evidence that the offence was motivated by ....age”.

United States


In the US, each state has its own laws regarding age discrimination, and there are also federal laws. In California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, the Fair Employment and Housing Act forbids unlawful discrimination against persons age 40 and older. The FEHA is the principal California statute prohibiting employment discrimination, covering employers, labor organizations
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

, employment agencies
Employment agency
An employment agency is an organization which matches employers to employees. In all developed countries there is a publicly funded employment agency and multiple private businesses which also act as employment agencies.-Public employment agencies:...

, apprenticeship programs and/or any person or entity who aids, abets, incites, compels, or coerces the doing of a discriminatory act. In addition to age, it prohibits employment discrimination based on race or color; religion; national origin or ancestry, physical disability
Disability
A disability may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental or some combination of these.Many people would rather be referred to as a person with a disability instead of handicapped...

; mental disability or medical condition; marital status; sex or sexual orientation; and pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Although there are many protections for age-based discrimination against older workers (as shown above) there are very few similar protections for younger workers.

Thirteen states
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 define age as a specific motivation for hate crimes - California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, District of Columbia, Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, Iowa
Iowa
Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

, Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

, Kansas
Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

, Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

, Maine
Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

, Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

, Nebraska
Nebraska
Nebraska is a state on the Great Plains of the Midwestern United States. The state's capital is Lincoln and its largest city is Omaha, on the Missouri River....

, New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 and Vermont
Vermont
Vermont is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state ranks 43rd in land area, , and 45th in total area. Its population according to the 2010 census, 630,337, is the second smallest in the country, larger only than Wyoming. It is the only New England...

.

The federal government governs age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
Age Discrimination in Employment Act
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Pub. L. No. 90-202Code, through , forbids employment discrimination against anyone at least 40 years of age in the United States .-Scope of Protection:...

 of 1967 (ADEA). The ADEA prohibits employment discrimination based on age with respect to employees 40 years of age or older as well. The ADEA also addresses the difficulty older workers face in obtaining new employment after being displaced from their jobs, arbitrary age limits. The ADEA applies even if some of the minimum 20 employees are overseas and working for a US corporation. Discrimination in this context can occur when the employer requires unfair terms, conditions, or privileges of employment such as those pertaining to hiring, firing, compensation, and benefits.

The United States federal government has responded to issues of youth-bias in governance through several measures in the past. They include the creation of the 1970s-era National Commission on Resources for Youth
National Commission on Resources for Youth
The National Commission on Resources for Youth was an American program established in 1970. The Commission was charged with identifying and promoting youth participation in schools and communities across the United States, and was largely funded by the U.S...

, which was created in the late 1960s as to promote youth participation
Youth participation
Youth participation is the active engagement of young people throughout their communities. It is often used as a short-hand for youth participation in any many forms, including decision-making, sports, schools and any activity where young people are not historically engaged.-Coinage:Youth...

 throughout communities. Recently the federal government implemented the Tom Osborne Federal Youth Coordination Act, aiming to curb redundancy among federal service providers to youth.

European Union


The European
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 citizenship provides the right to protection from discrimination on the grounds of age. According to Article 21-1 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights
Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union
The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union enshrines certain political, social, and economic rights for European Union citizens and residents, into EU law. It was drafted by the European Convention and solemnly proclaimed on 7 December 2000 by the European Parliament, the Council of...

 of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 s:Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union#CHAPTER III. EQUALITY, “any discrimination based on any ground such as (…) age, shall be prohibited”.

Additional protection against age discrimination comes from the Framework Directive 2000/78/EC. It prohibits discrimination on grounds of age in the field of employment.

France


In France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Articles 225-1 thru 225-4 of the Penal Code detail the penalization
Criminalization
Criminalization or criminalisation, in criminology, is "the process by which behaviors and individuals are transformed into crime and criminals". Previously legal acts may be transformed into crimes by legislation or judicial decision...

 of ageism, when it comes to an age discrimination related to the consumption
Consumption (economics)
Consumption is a common concept in economics, and gives rise to derived concepts such as consumer debt. Generally, consumption is defined in part by comparison to production. But the precise definition can vary because different schools of economists define production quite differently...

 of a good or service, to the exercise of an economic
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

 activity, to the labor market
Labour economics
Labor economics seeks to understand the functioning and dynamics of the market for labor. Labor markets function through the interaction of workers and employers...

 or an intern
Intern
Internship is a system of onthejob training for white-collar jobs, similar to an apprenticeship. Interns are usually college or university students, but they can also be high school students or post graduate adults seeking skills for a new career. They may also be as young as middle school or in...

ship, except in the cases foreseen in Article 225-3.

Belgium


In Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, the Law of Feb. 25, 2003 “tending to fight discrimination” punishes ageism when “a difference of treatment that lacks objective and reasonable justification is directly based on …. age”. Discrimination is forbidden when it refers to providing or offering a good or service, to conditions linked to work or employment
Employment
Employment is a contract between two parties, one being the employer and the other being the employee. An employee may be defined as:- Employee :...

, to the appointment or promotion
Promotion (rank)
A promotion is the advancement of an employee's rank or position in an organizational hierarchy system. Promotion may be an employee's reward for good performance i.e. positive appraisal...

 of an employee, and yet to the access or participation in “an economic, social, cultural or political activity accessible to the public” (Article 2nd, § 4). Incitement
Incitement
In English criminal law, incitement was an anticipatory common law offence and was the act of persuading, encouraging, instigating, pressuring, or threatening so as to cause another to commit a crime....

 to discrimination, to hatred
Hatred
Hatred is a deep and emotional extreme dislike, directed against a certain object or class of objects. The objects of such hatred can vary widely, from inanimate objects to animals, oneself or other people, entire groups of people, people in general, existence, or the whole world...

 or to violence
Violence
Violence is the use of physical force to apply a state to others contrary to their wishes. violence, while often a stand-alone issue, is often the culmination of other kinds of conflict, e.g...

 against a person or a group on the grounds of (…) age (Article 6) is punished with imprisonment
Incarceration
Incarceration is the detention of a person in prison, typically as punishment for a crime .People are most commonly incarcerated upon suspicion or conviction of committing a crime, and different jurisdictions have differing laws governing the function of incarceration within a larger system of...

 and/or a
fine.
Nevertheless, employment opportunities are worsening for people in their middle years in many of these same countries, according to Martin Kohli et al. in Time for Retirement (1991).

United Kingdom


In the UK, laws against ageism are relatively new. Age discrimination laws were brought into force in October 2006, and can now be found in the Equality Act 2010. This implements the Equal Treatment Framework Directive 2000/78/EC and protects employees against direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment
Harassment
Harassment covers a wide range of behaviors of an offensive nature. It is commonly understood as behaviour intended to disturb or upset, and it is characteristically repetitive. In the legal sense, it is intentional behaviour which is found threatening or disturbing...

 and victimisation
Victimisation
Victimisation is the process of being victimised or becoming a victim. Research that studies the process, rates, incidence, and prevalence of victimization falls under the body of victimology.-Peer victimisation:...

. There is also provision in the Equality Act 2010 to prohibit age discrimination in the provision of goods and services, though this has not yet been implemented by the current UK Coalition Government.

Despite the relatively recent prohibition on age discrimination, there has already been many notable cases and official statistics show a 37% increase in claims in 2009/10 and a further 31% increase in 2010/11. Examples include the case involving Rolls Royce, the "Heyday" case brought by Age UK and the recent Miriam O'Reilly
Miriam O'Reilly
Miriam O'Reilly is a television presenter, best known as a former presenter on the BBC One rural affairs show Countryfile.-Early life and career:...

 case against the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

.

Recent research suggested that the number of age discrimination claims annually could reach 15,000 by 2015.

The European Social Study survey in 2011 revealed that nearly two out of five people claim to have been shown a lack of respect because of their age. The survey suggested that the UK is riven by intergenerational splits, with half of people admitting they do not have a single friend over 70; this compares with only a third of Portuguese, Swiss and Germans who say that they do not have a friend of that age or older.

The "Grey Pride" campaign has been advocating for a Minister for Older People and its campaign has had some success, with Labour Leader Ed Miliband
Ed Miliband
Edward Samuel Miliband is a British Labour Party politician, currently the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition...

 appointing Liz Kendall
Liz Kendall
Elizabeth Louise Kendall is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Leicester West since 2010....

 as Shadow Minister for Older People.

Advocacy campaigns


Many current and historical intergenerational
Intergenerational equity
Intergenerational equity in economic, psychological, and sociological contexts, is the concept or idea of fairness or justice in relationships between children, youth, adults and seniors, particularly in terms of treatment and interactions. It has been studied in environmental and sociological...

 and youth programs have been created to address the issue of ageism. Among the advocacy organizations created in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 to challenge age discrimination are Age UK and the British Youth Council
British Youth Council
The British Youth Council is a UK charity working to empower young people to have a say and be heard. Run by young people for young people, BYC exists to represent the views of young people to government and decision-makers at a local, national, European and international level; and to promote the...

.

In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 there have been several historic and current efforts to challenge ageism. The earliest example may be the Newsboys Strike of 1899
Newsboys Strike of 1899
The Newsboys Strike of 1899 was a youth-led campaign to force change in the way that Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst's newspapers compensated their child labor force. The strike lasted two weeks, causing Pulitzer's New York World to reduce its circulation from 360,000 to 125,000...

, which fought ageist employment practices targeted against youth by large newspaper syndicates in the Northeast. During the Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

 Administration, First Lady
First Lady
First Lady or First Gentlemanis the unofficial title used in some countries for the spouse of an elected head of state.It is not normally used to refer to the spouse or partner of a prime minister; the husband or wife of the British Prime Minister is usually informally referred to as prime...

 Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was the First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945. She supported the New Deal policies of her husband, distant cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and became an advocate for civil rights. After her husband's death in 1945, Roosevelt continued to be an international...

 was active in the national youth movement, including the formation of the National Youth Administration
National Youth Administration
The National Youth Administration was a New Deal agency in the United States that focused on providing work and education for Americans between the ages of 16 and 24. It operated from 1935 to 1939 as part of the Works Progress Administration . Following the passage of the Reorganization Act of...

 and the defense of the American Youth Congress
American Youth Congress
American Youth Congress was an early youth voice organization composed of youth from all across the country to discuss the problems facing youth as a whole in the 1930s. It met several years in a row - one year it notably met on the lawn of the White House. The delegates are known to have caused...

. She made several statements on behalf of youth and against ageism. In one report entitled, "Facing the Problems of Youth," Roosevelt said of youth,
"We cannot simply expect them to say, 'Our older people have had experience and they have proved to themselves certain things, therefore they are right.' That isn't the way the best kind of young people think. They want to experience for themselves. I find they are perfectly willing to talk to older people, but they don't want to talk to older people who are shocked by their ideas, nor do they want to talk to older people who are not realistic."


Students for a Democratic Society
Students for a Democratic Society (1960 organization)
Students for a Democratic Society was a student activist movement in the United States that was one of the main iconic representations of the country's New Left. The organization developed and expanded rapidly in the mid-1960s before dissolving at its last convention in 1969...

 formed in 1960 to promote democratic opportunities for all people regardless of age, and the Gray Panthers
Gray Panthers
The Gray Panthers was an organization in the United States founded by Maggie Kuhn in 1970, in response to her forced retirement at age 65. The group focused on health and other issues....

 was formed in the early 1970s with a goal of eliminating ageism in all forms. Three O'Clock Lobby
Three O'Clock Lobby
The Three O'Clock Lobby was a statewide, youth-run youth advocacy organization in Michigan in the late 1970s. It was one of the forerunners of the American youth rights movement.- Formation :...

 formed in 1976 to promote youth participation
Youth participation
Youth participation is the active engagement of young people throughout their communities. It is often used as a short-hand for youth participation in any many forms, including decision-making, sports, schools and any activity where young people are not historically engaged.-Coinage:Youth...

 throughout traditionally ageist government structures in Michigan, while Youth Liberation of Ann Arbor
Youth Liberation of Ann Arbor
Youth Liberation of Ann Arbor was an organization based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It existed from 1970 to 1979, and is often cited in more recent academic literature as one of the leading forerunners of several youth movements in the United States, including the youth rights movement, youth voice...

 started in 1970 to promote youth and fight ageism.

More recent U.S. programs include Americans for a Society Free from Age Restrictions
Americans for a Society Free from Age Restrictions
Americans for a Society Free from Age Restrictions, also known as ASFAR Youth Liberation, is an organization dedicated to increasing the rights of youth under American law...

, which formed in 1996 to advance the civil and human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 of young people through eliminating ageist laws targeted against young people, and to help youth counter ageism in America. The National Youth Rights Association
National Youth Rights Association
The National Youth Rights Association is the largest youth-led civil rights organization in the United States promoting youth rights, with approximately ten thousand members...

 started in 1998 to promote awareness of the legal and human rights of young people in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and the Freechild Project
Freechild Project
The Freechild Project is a nonprofit organization focused on creating connections between adults and young people through programs, technical assistance, publications, training, and curriculum. Adam Fletcher is the director, and the project is located in Olympia, Washington...

 was formed in 2001 to identify, unify and promote diverse opportunities for youth engagement in social change by fighting ageism.

Related campaigns

  • In 2002 the Writers Guild of America, West
    Writers Guild of America, west
    Writers Guild of America, West is a labor union representing film, television, radio, and new media writers. The Guild was formed in 1954 from five organizations representing writers, which include the Screen Writers Guild...

     has waged a legal battle within the entertainment industry to eliminate age discrimination commonly faced by elder scriptwriters.
  • Director Paul Weitz
    Paul Weitz (filmmaker)
    Paul John Weitz is an American film producer, screenwriter, actor, and film director.-Personal life:Weitz was born in New York City, New York, the son of the actress Susan Kohner and novelist/fashion designer John Weitz, and the grandson of producer Paul Kohner and Mexican actress Lupita...

     reported he wrote the 2004 film, In Good Company to reveal how ageism affects youth and adults.
  • In 2002 The Freechild Project created an information and training initiative to provide resources to youth organizations and schools focused on youth rights.
  • In 2006 Lydia Giménez-LLort,Ph.D. an assistant professor of Psychiatry and researcher at the Autonomous University of Barcelona
    Autonomous University of Barcelona
    The Autonomous University of Barcelona is a public university mostly located in Cerdanyola, near the city of Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain....

     coined the term 'Snow White Syndrome' at the 'Congrés de la Gent Gran de Cerdanyola del Vallès' (Congress of the Elderly of Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain) as a metaphor to define ageism in a easier and more friendly way while developing a constructive spirit against it. The metaphor is based on both the auto-ageism and adultocracy exhibited by the queen of the Snow White
    Snow White
    "Snow White" is a fairy tale known from many countries in Europe, the best known version being the German one collected by the Brothers Grimm...

     fairy tale as well as the social ageism symbolized by the mirror
  • Since 2008 'The Intergenerational Study' by Lydia Giménez-LLort and Paula Ramírez-Boix from the Autonomous University of Barcelona
    Autonomous University of Barcelona
    The Autonomous University of Barcelona is a public university mostly located in Cerdanyola, near the city of Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain....

     is aimed to find the basis of the link between grandparents and grandsons (positive family relationships) that are able to minimize the ageism towards the elderly. Students of several Spanish universities have enroled to this study which soon will be also performed in USA, Nigeria, Barbados, Argentina and Mexico. The preliminar results reveal that 'The Intergenerational study questionnaire' induces young people to do a reflexive and autocritic analysis of their intergenerational relationships in contrast to those shown towards other unrelated old people which results very positive to challenge ageism. A cortometrage about 'The International Study' has been directed and produced by Tomás Sunyer from Los Angeles City College
    Los Angeles City College
    Los Angeles City College, known as LACC, is a public community college in the East Hollywood section of Los Angeles, California. A part of the Los Angeles Community College District, it is located on Vermont Avenue south of Santa Monica Boulevard...

  • Votes at 16
    Votes at 16
    Votes at 16 is a campaign in the United Kingdom which argues in favour of the reduction of the voting age to 16 for all public elections.-Coalition:...

     intends to lower the voting age
    Voting age
    A voting age is a minimum age established by law that a person must attain to be eligible to vote in a public election.The vast majority of countries in the world have established a voting age. Most governments consider that those of any age lower than the chosen threshold lack the necessary...

     to 16, reducing ageism and giving 16 year olds equal pay on the National Minimum Wage. The group claims that 16 year olds get less money than older people for the same work, angering many 16 year olds. They additionally postulate that 16 year olds will have their voice listened to by older people more often.

Accusations of ageism


In a recent interview, actor Pierce Brosnan
Pierce Brosnan
Pierce Brendan Brosnan, OBE is an Irish actor, film producer and environmentalist. After leaving school at 16, Brosnan began training in commercial illustration, but trained at the Drama Centre in London for three years...

 cited ageism as one of the contributing factors as to why he was not asked to continue his role as James Bond
James Bond
James Bond, code name 007, is a fictional character created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short story collections. There have been a six other authors who wrote authorised Bond novels or novelizations after Fleming's death in 1964: Kingsley Amis,...

 in the Bond film Casino Royale
Casino Royale (2006 film)
Casino Royale is the twenty-first film in the James Bond film series and the first to star Daniel Craig as fictional MI6 agent James Bond...

, released in 2006.

Also, successful singer and actress, Madonna
Madonna (entertainer)
Madonna is an American singer-songwriter, actress and entrepreneur. Born in Bay City, Michigan, she moved to New York City in 1977 to pursue a career in modern dance. After performing in the music groups Breakfast Club and Emmy, she released her debut album in 1983...

 spoke out in her 50s about ageism and her fight to defy the norms of society. Similarly, Sex and the City
Sex and the City
Sex and the City is an American television comedy-drama series created by Darren Star and produced by HBO. Broadcast from 1998 until 2004, the original run of the show had a total of ninety-four episodes...

 star Kim Cattrall
Kim Cattrall
Kim Victoria Cattrall is an English actress. She is known for her role as Samantha Jones in the HBO comedy/romance series Sex and the City, and for her leading roles in the 1980s films Police Academy, Big Trouble in Little China, Mannequin, and Porky's...

 has also raised the issue of ageism.

Had John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

 succeeded in his 2008 campaign for President, he would have been the oldest President in American history. Discussions about his age disadvantaged McCain during his failed run, and whether or not the criticism of McCain qualified as unfair 'ageist' allegations or legitimate points of view was hotly debated. McCain himself frequently made fun of the criticisms, in one instance pretending to fall asleep when asked about his age.

A 2007 Pew Research Center
Pew Research Center
The Pew Research Center is an American think tank organization based in Washington, D.C. that provides information on issues, attitudes and trends shaping the United States and the world. The Center and its projects receive funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts. In 1990, Donald S...

 study found that a majority of American voters would be less likely to vote for a President past a given age, with only 45% saying that age would not matter.

See also

  • Adultism
    Adultism
    Adultism has been defined as "the power adults have over children". More narrowly, 'adultism is prejudice and accompanying systematic discrimination against young people'...

  • Age of consent
    Age of consent
    While the phrase age of consent typically does not appear in legal statutes, when used in relation to sexual activity, the age of consent is the minimum age at which a person is considered to be legally competent to consent to sexual acts. The European Union calls it the legal age for sexual...

  • Age stratification
    Age stratification
    In critical sociology, age stratification refers to the hierarchical ranking of people into age groups within a society.Age stratification which is based on an ascribed status is a major source inequality, and thus may lead to ageism.-External links:* *...

  • Aging brain
    Aging brain
    Age is a major risk factor for most common neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, cerebrovascular disease, Parkinson's disease and Lou Gehrig's disease. Other risk factors, including genetic mutations, low educational attainments and head injury contribute much less to the risk...

  • Ephebiphobia
    Ephebiphobia
    The fear of youth is called ephebiphobia. First coined as the "fear and loathing of teenagers," today the phenomenon is recognized as the "inaccurate, exaggerated and sensational characterization of young people" in a range of settings around the world...

  • Gerontocracy
    Gerontocracy
    A gerontocracy is a form of oligarchical rule in which an entity is ruled by leaders who are significantly older than most of the adult population. Often the political structure is such that political power within the ruling class accumulates with age, so that the oldest hold the most power...

  • Gerontophobia
    Gerontophobia
    Gerontophobia is the fear of growing old, or a hatred or fear of the elderly.-Indicators:Ken Dychtwald identifies seven markers that can make up this phobia in chapter two of Age Wave: How the Most Important Trend of Our Time Will Change Your Future:...

  • Memory and aging
    Memory and aging
    One of the key concerns of older adults is the experience of memory loss, especially as it is one of the hallmark symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. However, memory loss is qualitatively different in normal aging from the kind of memory loss associated with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's...

  • Minor (law)
    Minor (law)
    In law, a minor is a person under a certain age — the age of majority — which legally demarcates childhood from adulthood; the age depends upon jurisdiction and application, but is typically 18...

  • Pedophobia
  • Prejudice
    Prejudice
    Prejudice is making a judgment or assumption about someone or something before having enough knowledge to be able to do so with guaranteed accuracy, or "judging a book by its cover"...

  • Youth rights
    Youth rights
    Youth rights refers to a set of philosophies intended to enhance civil rights for young people. They are a response to the oppression of young people, with advocates challenging ephebiphobia, adultism and ageism through youth participation, youth/adult partnerships, and promoting, ultimately,...


External links



Further reading



  • Kimmel, D.C. (1988). Ageism, psychology, and public policy. American Psychologist, 43(3), 175-178.
  • Kite, M.E., & Johnson, B.T. (1988). Attitudes towards older and younger adults: A meta-analysis. Psychology and Aging, 3(3), 232-244.