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Ending Ageism: Toward a world for all ages

WHO/IFA Webinar 9

On 30 October, the International Federation on Ageing (IFA), in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), hosted a webinar on ageism titled “Ending Ageism: Toward a world for all ages.” This webinar was central to work on age-friendly, as establishing age-friendly environments is an important means of combating systemic ageism. This webinar was presented by:

  • Dr Vânia de la Fuente Núñez, Technical Officer, Department of Ageing and Life Course, World Health Organization;
  • Liat Ayalon, Professor – Bar Ilan University, School of Social Work, Coordinator – Marie Curie Innovative Training Network, international Ph.D. program on Ageism;
  • Dr Nena Georgantzi, Policy Coordinator, Human Rights and Non-Discrimination, AGE Platform Europe, PhD Fellow, National University of Ireland Galway.

This pivotal webinar discussed the multiple forms ageism can take and indicated that despite the number of people who experience ageism, there is a lack of understanding of how entrenched ageism is in our society.  For example, it was indicated that age is not an explicit part of the UN Declaration for Human Rights (1948), meaning that combating ageism as a form of discrimination is not always substantiated by policy.  Adopting laws and policies that explicitly prohibit age discrimination in all areas of older people’s lives is essential for moving forward more equitably.

The webinar also emphasized that a move toward age equality also requires a shift in language away from comparing ageing with negative events, for example the term “grey tsunami.” This terminology shapes our understanding of age as a potential problem and can have a serious impact on how older people are viewed – an effect that is often evident in healthcare and employment settings where less attention is paid to older people who are deemed at the end of their lives or careers. Language equating ageing with disaster may also foster internalized ageist stereotypes, which are evident in how some older people describe themselves using words like “burden.”

Two campaigns were discussed during this webinar.  The first was the #AgeingEqual campaign, which highlights ageism as a form of discrimination that can potentially affect us all and emphasizes that human rights do not diminish with age. This campaign raises awareness on the impacts of ageism and urges policy makers at all levels to include ageism in anti-discrimination policies and practices.  The second initiative that was discussed was the Global Campaign to Combat Ageism, which is an international initiative focused on knowledge gathering, dissemination and advocacy.

Click here to watch the webinar “Ending Ageism: Toward a world for all ages.”

Click here for more information on the Ageing Equal campaign.

Interested in getting involved in the Global Campaign to Combat Ageism?  Complete this survey to share the work of your organization.

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