The PeopleAlchemist Edit: change & transformation, business & lifestyle experimentation for TheWomanAlchemist – Midlife does not mean the end of life
We are all getting older one day if we are lucky. And as society has progressed and the quality of life has meant that our life is getting longer and longer, what classifies as midlife has changed too.
This has, however, not precisely equated to a change in how we view older people. For women, this is even more apparent.
Senior women in business face yet another layer of alterity – ageism comes in addition to sexism. Women growing old is different to men growing old. There are persistent sexist myths that dominate this phase in women’s lives. One of the reasons behind the stigma of menopause is that women’s potential fertility is connected to ideas of sexual attractiveness.
We have only recently started talking openly about menopause. However, I fear that we might have gone a bit too far. So let me be clear: talking openly about things that might affect us is good. Nevertheless, menopause is a ‘normal’ phase of a woman’s life. Not all women experience difficulties during this period. Same as not all women having painful and difficult periods. Or difficulty in conceiving or dangerous pregnancies.
I am afraid that all this talk of menopause might heighten employers’ fears about employing women of a certain age. This is in addition to being fearful of employing women who are still of child-bearing age.
I don’t know; your thoughts are welcome.
MIDLIFE DOES NOT MEAN THE END OF LIFE
Moving on with the subject, as usual, for women over 45, the danger of becoming invisible to employers regarding career opportunities is proportionately more significant than for men.
Women over 45 have half the private pension savings of men, and if we don’t get them employed now, we face a future where half of our women retire in poverty.
We need to change the ridiculous notion that a woman has no further use in society once she is no longer fertile. Getting rid of women after 45 in redundancy rounds has to stop.
But more importantly, we have to go back and employ the generation who have already been lost.
Employers need to take responsibility for the rampant ageism inflicted on midlife women. They need to actively work to change their attitude and make amends by creating more targeted opportunities, as there are training programmes for young people.
I believe in taking personal ownership and responsibility. This generation of midlife women is the most educated and experienced and probably live longer than expected. I think women themselves need to reskill, shout out when they experience ageism, and join other like-minded women for support.
Women themselves have everything they need to solve the problems we face.
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