Addressing ageism: YaleWomen webinar to debunk age-related myths
Working as an executive coach, Amy Armitage ’86 M.B.A., has helped women executives navigate ageism in the workplace. Women are most often subjected to age discrimination — although it affects men, too — and, she says, women need specific resources to stay competitive.
“Women need support networks, community building, and self-confidence — particularly when they are going back into the workforce,” Armitage says. “Whether they need to update their LinkedIn profile or their resume, there is a different mindset they need to adopt.”
Armitage is moderating a webinar hosted by YaleWomen on Wednesday, June 26 on ageism at work, which is designed to debunk myths around aging and provide strategies for women to reach their full potential. Panelists include Ashton Applewhite, author of “This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism” and a popular TED talk speaker; Diane T. Ashley ’76 B.A., former vice president and chief diversity officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; and Leslie Morrison Faerstein, executive director of amazing.community, which provides community forums and online resources for women over 50.
Career-related topics resonate with YaleWomen’s audience, says Armitage. The group, which includes all female-identifying Yale alumni as its de facto members, had nearly 1,000 people participate in its last webinar on career transitions. “There’s a tremendous demand for career advice,” Armitage says. “We’re in an economy that requires you to be constantly learning.”
Applewhite received cheers during her 2017 TED talk debunking myths about growing older. Aging, she argues in the talk, rarely leads to confinement in a nursing home, dementia, or depression. In fact, she tells the audience, people generally get happier as they age and are most stressed and unhappy in their middle years. The problem, Applewhite says, is our culture — and the pervasiveness of ageism.
“The culture drowns out all but the negative,” she said in a recent phone interview. “The truth of the matter is that most of us will carry on just fine as we age.” Applewhite says she wants to do more than to simply call out ageism via her talk and book — she wants to catalyze a movement.
“Our institutions and workplaces have a role to play. They have yet to reflect and support our new longevity,” she says.
Applewhite notes that women face particular obstacles in the workplace, including both rewards and penalties for their attractiveness, but notes that ageism ultimately begins within. “One reason that age discrimination in the workplace goes unreported is that many workers are reluctant to identify as older,” Applewhite says, noting that young workers face age-related prejudice in the workplace, too. “I’m interested in age-related equity across the lifespan,” she says. “How do we come together at all ages to create a more equitable society?”
The YaleWomen Webinar on Ageism at Work will take place on June 26, 1-2 p.m. EDT. It is free and open to all. Register here.