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Gender Discrimination and Ageist Perceptions:

Meadows, M, Grant, DK, Walker, H, Butler, N, Hogan, M and Li, D (2006) Gender Discrimination and Ageist Perceptions:. Project Report. Liverpool John Moores University.

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This report presents the findings from an ESF Objective 3 Project “Gender Discrimination and Ageist Perceptions”. The project is based at Liverpool John Moores University, in the Faculty of Education, Community and Leisure.

Older age groups have consistently been undervalued and often discarded by employers, for being too old. They are now being encouraged to re-enter the workplace through schemes such as New Deal 50 plus and Pathways to Work, or to take up volunteering through the promotion of “Active Citizenship”. In addition, the concept of lifelong learning has been advocated by New Labour as an attempt to move away from the traditional notions of education, towards a vision in which education forms a lifelong process, which can be accessed at any time during the life course. Yet, despite the lower labour market attachment of the over fifties, people of this age group in higher education account for only around 1% of the student population. There is a variety of ways in which people approaching their mid life would, on the face of it, be able to access work, education or volunteering experiences. However, past research and current data suggest that there appear to be barriers to the take up of such opportunities.

The Aim
This study set out to investigate the experiences and perceptions of women and men aged over fifty and the organisations which impact upon their lives, in an effort to understand more fully the potential barriers this age group may face when accessing opportunities, employment, training or education.

Gender disadvantages in the world of work have been well documented. Increasingly, age perceptions are thought to be a factor in older peoples’ access to employment and training opportunities. Data shows that the and only a tenth of those are on employer and government training programmes (TAEN, 2006). The demographic change, with more people living longer, coupled with low birth rates, is creating an expanding older population and fuelling oncerns over labour shortages. There is, therefore, an economic imperative to draw workers back into work via a variety of avenues. Despite over 70% of women now participating in the workforce, the employment patterns of men and women show that only 21% of women over 40 are in full-time employment, compared with 46% of men. Women have not had the same opportunities as men to build a career or to earn the equivalent of males due to their child-rearing and caring responsibilities, with many continuing to be concentrated in traditionally low paid sectors. The pay gap between some men and women is widening,despite the long history of legislation on equal pay. To compound the situation, older women are now said to be facing a double jeopardy of age and gender discrimination. Tackling discrimination has been at the heart of equal opportunities legislation designed to prevent unequal treatment regardless of gender,race and disability. The Sex Discrimination Act (SDA) and Equal Pay Act (EPA) both came into force in 1975. Each Act attempted to redress the inequalities suffered by (mainly) women in terms of employment and education. The Bill to establish the Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) received Royal Assent on 16th February 2006 and will provide an integrated approach to all forms of discrimination including that on the grounds of age.

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Education
Sport Studies, Leisure & Nutrition (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Liverpool John Moores University
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2015 12:45
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2022 16:36
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/800
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