By: Kristin Clements-Effner, MSW Training Coordinator/Cofounder
In the age of tolerance and inclusion, we like to think that our culture has overcome many of the “isms” that have plagued society for generations. We aren’t naïve enough to think we are living in happiness and sunshine all the time, but great strides have been made in challenging stereotypes and discrimination. However, one “ism” that keeps cropping up and seems under the radar for most of our society is ageism.
Ageism has often been referenced in regards to older individuals being looked over for employment opportunities. However, I am here to tell you there is a strong undercurrent of discrimination against those of us who appear to be under the age of 35. What do you think when two twenty something’s come to your organization to do a training? Do you listen to what the 32 year old in a meeting has to say or are you thinking the whole conversation, “He could be the age of my child, what does he know”?
For some reason, it has become socially acceptable to judge someone’s workplace value or importance by the year they were born and not by the quality of their work or message. We will continue to have struggles making great strides in the community if a whole demographic is deemed as unimportant to the conversation or seen as children that know very little and just need to be schooled. We are tired of sitting on the sidelines and are shouting for someone to pay attention to us and see that we are relevant. So next time you are in a meeting or working alongside someone who appears younger than you, please listen to their message and not judge the age of the messenger.