Reframing How We Think, Feel and Act towards ageing and older persons is the theme for Positive Ageing Week 2022 which seeks to challenge negative stereotypes about ageing and older people. Positive Ageing Week is an Age Action initiative to promote the agency of older people and to celebrate the contribution they make to our families, workplaces, communities and society as a whole. For 20 years individuals, groups, local authorities and businesses have been organising events to mark Positive Ageing Week.
Positive Ageing Week also marks United Nations International Day of Older Persons on 1 October which this year celebrates the Resilience and Contributions of Older Women. While older women continue to meaningfully contribute to their political, civil, economic, social and cultural lives; their contributions and experiences remain largely invisible and disregarded, limited by gendered disadvantages accumulated throughout the life course. The intersection between discrimination based on age and gender compounds new and existing inequalities, including negative stereotypes that combine ageism and sexism. International Day of Older Persons 2022 is a call to action and opportunity aimed to embrace the voices of older women and showcase their resilience and contributions in society, while promoting policy dialogues to enhance the protection of older persons human rights and recognize their contributions to sustainable development.
Age Action will be announcing details of events to mark the day in the coming weeks.
Challenging Ageism and Promoting Age Equality
Ageism refers to how we think (stereotypes), feel (prejudice) and act (discrimination) towards others or ourselves based on age.
Ageism refers to the harm done through how we think (stereotypes), how we feel (prejudice) and how we act (discrimination) towards others or ourselves based on age. Ageism can be conscious or unconscious.
Ageism occurs when people interact with one another (interpersonal), when organisations interact with individuals (institutional) and when people direct ageism towards themselves (self-directed).
Why is Ageism a problem?
Ageism is one of the most pervasive prejudices across human society. Ageism characterises and divides people in ways which are unjust, and which lead to disadvantage and the undermining of human rights.
Age is one of the first things we notice about other people. Ageism arises when age is used to categorize and divide people in ways that lead to harm, disadvantage and injustice and erode solidarity across generations.
Ageism damages our health and well-being and is a major barrier to enacting effective policies and taking action on healthy ageing, as recognized by World Health Organization (WHO) Member States in the Global strategy and action plan on ageing and health and through the Decade of Healthy Ageing: 2021–2030. In response, WHO was asked to start, with partners, a global campaign to combat ageism. The Global report on ageism was developed for the campaign by WHO, the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, the United Nations (UN) Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the United Nations Population Fund.
What is Age Equality?
Age equality is the opposite of ageism. Age equality involves making a conscious, active effort to overcome stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination based on age, in order to remove all age-related barriers to equality of outcome for older people.
Age equality promotes policies and laws that address discrimination and inequality based on age.
Age equality promotes educational activities, including self-directed learning, to enhance understanding and empathy about ageing, and to transmit knowledge and skills to overcome ageism.
Age equality promotes intergenerational activities, where people of all ages interact, to contribute to mutual understanding and cooperation between people of different ages.