Exploring the Impact of Ageism on Women in the Workplace

Women of Influence+

How Age-Related Stereotypes, Biases, and Discriminatory Practices Impede Success

Numerous forms of discrimination can hinder professional success, and there is one that is particularly pervasive yet frequently overlooked — ageism.

According to the World Health Organization (2024)1 , ageism is defined as stereotypes (how we think), prejudice (how we feel), and discrimination (how we act) towards others or ourselves based on age. Ageism can affect individuals at every age and stage of their career and is present across a wide variety of industries and sectors.

In a society where age is flippantly discussed in the media, where individuals in power are often criticized for being too young or too old, and where billion-dollar cosmetic industries promote transformation and anti-aging, it’s not surprising that ageism in the workplace is so widespread.

Exploring the Impact of Ageism on Women in the Workplace is an international survey that explores the experiences of more than 1,250 working women from all demographics and industries to determine how their personal and professional lives have been impacted by age-related discrimination.

The results are striking. What we heard repeatedly from respondents is that they are facing a disproportionate level of age-related discrimination at all stages of their careers, and it is impacting both their personal and professional lives. Not only is ageism hindering women’s ability to find new jobs and earn promotions, it is wreaking havoc on corporate cultures.

This paper highlights the stark realities of ageism faced by women in the workplace, and, more importantly, presents insightful solutions derived from these women themselves.

This is a call to action. If companies want to create equitable and supportive environments where women will thrive, they must consider the effects of ageism and take steps to foster an environment where women are not overlooked, belittled, or dismissed because of their age.