Self-Discovery Thought Leader: Joan Senio
Ageism, the discrimination and stereotyping based on age, often affects women over 50.
It manifests in various ways, such as exclusion from job opportunities or a general disregard for our worth in society. Indeed, ageism, particularly ageism targeted at women over 50, can impact us everywhere from the board room to the exam room, and it can impact our very ability to thrive and live a long and healthy life. As women over 50, we must reflect and engage in self-discovery about this critical topic. We owe it to ourselves and women everywhere to identify how we each can play a vital role and do our part to stamp out ageism.
As we look within ourselves to seek out our personal opportunities for ageist advocacy, we must all keep our eyes firmly fixed on the ball. Our objective to create a more inclusive society and culture and stamp out ageism is critical, but not only to our own ability to thrive.
“Indeed, ageism, particularly ageism targeted at women over 50, can impact us everywhere from the board room to the exam room.”
Perhaps more importantly, it’s imperative for our daughters, granddaughters, and future generations of women who will follow us.
It’s our responsibility to do all we can to shape a better world where they can more readily thrive!
9 Ways To Do Your Part To Stamp Our Ageism:
1. Challenge Stereotypes in Society:
There is no doubt limiting and discouraging stereotypes about older women exist, and it is our responsibility to challenge and debunk them.
- By living our lives to the fullest, as strong, capable, and vibrant individuals.
- By redefining what it means to “age gracefully”. Indeed, perhaps giving up the notion of aging gracefully – just staying gracious and classy and powerful – right up to our last breath!
- By never shying away from opportunities to live life on our own terms.
- Also, never letting ourselves (or others) believe that our age is a limitation.
- We must set our own epic stretch goals and celebrate our accomplishments when we achieve them.
2. Embrace Your Authenticity:
Instead of feeling pressured to conform to societal expectations, we must each embrace our authentic self to help stamp out ageism. Whether that includes traditional hobbies and interests and clothing and hairstyles for women over 50, or not. We must be true to our authentic selves, whatever that means to us.
All the while, rejecting the notion that aging means becoming invisible or irrelevant. So, let’s each celebrate our unique qualities, experiences, and perspectives. Who we are doesn’t change because we hit a certain birthday. Are there parts of your younger self that you have neglected in recent years? We must all find them again.
And every chance we get, we must seek to re-instill any energy and passion we may have begun to suppress. Let’s demonstrate unconditional, pure, powerful self-love, too. And in so doing, demonstrate to everyone around us that women over 50 are still capable of living fulfilling lives and making valuable contributions.
3. Redefine Beauty:
In a society that often associates beauty with youth, we must challenge this perspective by redefining beauty as something that transcends age to stamp out ageism.
“Doing so may inspire other women to look beyond ageist stereotypes and embrace their individuality.”
We must celebrate our natural beauty and explore different ways to enhance our appearance, not to defy age, but to express our true selves and look and feel our best. Avoid the urge to adopt a beauty regimen or hairstyle designed to make you “look younger”. There’s no need for that!
We should all model the behavior we want future women to display, too. With a focus on being comfortable with looking our best at every age we get to enjoy. Let’s work to make it the norm to showcase our own definition of beauty, at any age. Doing so may inspire other women to look beyond ageist stereotypes and embrace their individuality.
4. Pursue New Interests And Passions:
Another effective way to challenge ageist stereotypes and to help stamp out ageism is by pursuing new interests and passions. Just as we should restore our energy around interests from earlier in life, we must continually explore areas we’ve always been curious about.
Our curiosity should not diminish as we age! Quite the contrary, it’s possible that as we enter life after 50, we may begin to have more time available to devote to learning, or pursuing new hobbies that bring us joy. Engaging in lifelong learning and personal growth not only keeps our mind active but also challenges the assumption that older women are limited in their abilities and interests.
Just as we must nurture our own curiosity in new things, we must also remain curious about new people. Meeting new people and learning from their diverse experiences and backgrounds is another way to stay vital, alert, and engaged with the world around us.
5. Stay Active and Focus On Health:
Maintaining an active lifestyle not only benefits our physical health but also challenges ageist stereotypes about declining mobility and vitality.
Regular exercise, whether it’s walking, yoga, or other activities, becomes even more important after 50. We must prioritize our overall well-being by maintaining a healthy diet, getting regular check-ups, and practicing self-care. Taking care of our health sends powerful messages to those around us.
- Women over 50 are vibrant and capable of leading active, fulfilling lives.
- We value both our health and mental fitness and are deserving of whatever type of self-care we crave.
- Modelling these behaviors also helps cement the message to younger women: it’s important and good and necessary that they maintain their physical and mental health, too.
- And it is not selfish to take whatever time they need to keep themselves feeling their very best. In fact, self-care should be considered an obligation to ourselves, and to other women, too.
“We must share our experiences, insights, and expertise with others.”
6. Share Your Wisdom And Mentor Others:
The knowledge and wisdom gained over the years are valuable assets that can challenge ageist stereotypes. We must share our experiences, insights, and expertise with others.
If you have left the workforce or have grown children, act as a mentor or volunteer to help younger women and girls who can benefit from your guidance. Being actively involved in mentoring not only empowers others but also shows that older women bring unique perspectives and valuable contributions to the table.
7. Advocate For Change:
We can become advocates for change and help stamp out ageism by speaking up against ageist practices and policies.
One way to do this is to join organizations or support initiatives that promote age diversity and equality. We can also contact our local representatives or get involved in community projects that aim to challenge ageist attitudes. By actively working for change, we can make contributions that shape a society that values and respects women of all ages.
8. Advocate For Age Diversity:
We can each help stamp out ageism by promoting age diversity and advocating for it in our workplace, community, and social circles.
One way to do this is to encourage employers to adopt inclusive hiring practices that value the skills, expertise, and contributions of older workers. We can also support initiatives and organizations that promote age diversity, and actively participate in discussions and events that address ageism.
Let’s also pay attention and challenge our friends, family, and coworkers when they make comments or behave in ways that imply older women have less to offer or are less capable than their younger acquaintances or colleagues. We can each help change negative perceptions around aging and encourage others to do the same.
9. Educate Others:
We must educate those around us about ageism and its negative impact. When opportunities arise, we must seize them.
When opportunities don’t arise, we must create them. Start conversations with friends, family members, and colleagues about the importance of valuing women across all age groups. Share personal experiences or stories of other inspiring older women who have defied age stereotypes. By providing education and awareness, we can encourage a more inclusive and age-diverse mindset in those around us.
“When opportunities arise, we must seize them.”
Do Your Part to Stamp Out Ageism:
As women over 50, we have the power to challenge ageist stereotypes and rewrite the narrative around aging. We must each look within ourselves and bring our own unique gifts to the table.
Showcasing our capabilities is an effective means to challenge societal expectations and empower ourselves and others in the process. Age is not a limitation but an opportunity for growth, fulfillment, and making a positive impact on the world. Let’s embrace our own power and inspire others to value people of all ages.
Together, we can create meaningful progress towards a world where ageism is no longer a barrier to personal and professional fulfillment.
About the Author:
Joan Senio’s professional career includes 20+ years as a private sector health care facilities executive and 15 years (and counting) as a consultant. Joan’s current consulting work is focused on strategic planning in energy, environment, and sustainability infrastructure resiliency.
Joan founded KindCompasCoach to provide free, on-demand, kind, compassionate coaching via an openly accessible platform. KindCompasCoach articles and resources are well-researched and provide facts and knowledge as well as tips, guidance and advice for those who need support to address obstacles and challenges to their personal development and fulfillment. Areas of focus include mental health, physical health, well-being and relationships, just to name a few.
To learn more, visit KindCompasCoach. You may also connect with Joan on Twitter (@KindCompascoach). Want to take the next step on your journey of self-discovery? Learn more about your authentic self today by reading this: Your Personal Mission Statement. Would you like to work with KindCompasCoach? We enjoy working with authors, coaches, bloggers, and advertisers and will consider a wide variety of collaboration opportunities. Contact us today and let’s talk about the possibilities!