Kathryn Sandford, director of M2M (Move To More), said age has caught up with us all, but there remains a big difference in how men and women with gray hair are treated in the workplace. I’m here.
Sandford, CEO of New Zealand recruitment and career coaching firm M2M, says many perceived barriers have been overcome as the modern workplace strives to be more inclusive and remove stigma. But Sandford said the “implicit” barrier that deserves more focus is the age imbalance between men and women.
At work, women are expected to dye their hair when it starts to turn gray, Sandford said. If a woman chooses not to dye her hair, it can affect her perception as a leader and make her more vulnerable to “age discrimination.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), ageism refers to stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination against others or oneself based on age. Sandford said ageism is still prevalent in the workplace, with women being particularly targeted.
For example, in January a Scottish woman lost a $5 million employment dispute with a company over complaints that her co-workers nicknamed her “Christine Lagarde” because of her gray hair. Lagarde is the president of the European Central Bank and has white hair.
A 52-year-old Scottish woman was offended by the nickname and sued her company, claiming she was the victim of a “sexist and ageist culture” and bullying by co-workers before she was fired.
But Judge Bernice Elgott dismissed the allegation, saying the nickname Christine Lagarde was “part of the occasional day-to-day irritation of office life.”
Sandford said the Scottish lawsuit was likely well adjudicated but showed prejudices that are commonly felt in most workplaces.
“People don’t talk about age, gray hair, etc. High-level leadership teams often roll out plans for DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) mandates, which are often clichéd. It’s not too much.
“They are very good at ticking the boxes and getting the public acclaim that comes with such initiatives. Ford said.
She said actor George Clooney is a good example of how men and women perceive gray hair differently.
“When a guy like Clooney chooses to go grey, there’s an element that goes against the trend. He’s putting himself out there. He’s become more visible. No judgment about, in fact, Clooney is often referred to as the “silver fox.”
“But with women, it’s the opposite. Instead of becoming visible, they tend to become invisible. People assume or comment that women look much older, which is negative.” It may have implications.
“Dyeing gray hair is a choice a woman can make, not a decision of a woman choosing to do this. , you run the risk of receiving hurtful comments,” Sandford said.
Sandford provided some tips for dealing with age discrimination in the workplace.
1. Call it.
As with any attempt to belittle or victimize, Sandford argued that women at the sharp end of the rod of ageism would quickly evoke the behavior and why it could harm. must be explained to others.
“The world needs women in responsible places, especially in the workplace. It is therefore important for women – and anyone else who sees ageism – to stand up for themselves and confront it. Please,” Sandford said.
2. Recognize boundaries
Internal jokes are one thing, but direct hurtful words are another. To recognize the difference, we need to know our own boundaries for what is acceptable.
“Let’s become better aware of what we are ready to put up with and what we are not. Stereotypes permeate perceptions and a culture of ageism can seriously affect promotion opportunities.” It’s important to keep your boundaries tight here,” said Sandford.
3. Enforce boundaries.
A bit like law, unenforced boundaries are worth less than paper on which they are written. If there are risks or trends of age discrimination in your workplace, it is important to discuss the consequences of harmful discussions with senior management before a situation arises.
“Set boundaries and have the confidence to reach them. It’s a good signal to plan your career progression,” says Sandford.
For more information, please visit https://m2m.co.nz/.
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