Gendered ageism refers to discrimination due to both age and sex/gender. It is a largely neglected social determinant of health, and deeply institutionalized in health care practices. This pervasive yet underrecognized bias renders older women essentially invisible in contemporary culture as well as social and economic policies, placing them at an enormous, multi-layered disadvantage. Contrary to common misconceptions about aging, most older adults live independently in the community and are remaining healthier, longer. Older women comprise the majority of this aging population and face unique challenges and healthcare needs such as increased loneliness and multiple chronic health conditions and inappropriate medications, which are seldom considered.
Women’s Age Lab, the first and only of its kind in the world, is a research centre at Women’s College Hospital striving to transform the aging experience by using science to address the needs of older women, which have gone unmet, until now. Women make up much of the older population and face unique challenges throughout the aging process that are singular to them. As a result, Women’s Age Lab is committed to emphasizing diversity and inclusion to ensure better quality and more well-rounded evidence that considers the distinct health experiences of older women.
In its first year, the lab has worked on tackling gendered ageism by building a science-based case on how age and gender discrimination impacts the health of older women. One of their responses was developing a one-of-a-kind, interactive module to address the sex and age gap in health research that is crucial to advancing health and socioeconomic equities.
This October will mark the Women’s Age Lab’s launch of a global-first campaign on combatting gendered ageism, designed to advance equity and diversity through raising awareness about the harmful impact of age and gender-based discrimination.
To learn more about Women’s Age Lab’s work, visit: www.womensagelab.ca.