Don’t write off older women, the public sector needs them


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Taking on the ageing population challenges in the Intergenerational Report means tackling ageism the public sector. In particular, more women than men won’t have the security of enough superannuation to retire at 65. The question we need to ask is how we can benefit from having these older women workers?

The release of the Intergenerational report in early March catapulted me into a state of confusion.

Only the night before, I had been at the Australian Human Rights Commission launch of their corporate toolkit where they played a short video developed by the Age and Disability Discrimination Commissioner, the Hon Susan Ryan AO.  This video celebrates the power of oldness.  Not only is it thoroughly entertaining but it also dispels some of the myths about the capability of people in their more mature years.

However, the quirky video also revealed a sinister reality — that mature age workers face substantial discrimination and other barriers to fully participating in the workplace.

The Intergenerational Report has projected life expectancies to increase to 95.1 years for men and 96.6 years for women by 2054-55. It also projects labour market participation rates among those aged 65 and over to increase from the current rate of 12.9% to 17.3% in 2054-55. But until we tackle widespread ageism, is this increase really possible?

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