toxic jobs

Personal stories about toxic jobs and workplace woes.

December 18, 2010

workplace dinosauresses

Audrey, 45, has reluctantly come to terms with why older women are seen as workplace 'dinosauresses' whereas older men are more likely to be seen as mature, experienced, wise and desirable employees.

"It has a lot to do with women, generally, being employed on looks," says Audrey. "Everyone accepts that a younger woman is more desirable than an older woman, but there’s far more to it than this."

“Adult children in their 20s mostly have mothers in their 40s, and when you put these two age groups together in a workplace with the young ones in positions of power – as they all are these days,” explains Audrey, "what the young people see is their mothers – old women (in their eyes) who potter around the house, wash clothes and dishes, nag them to death and are really, really uncool."

"Now, dads, on the other hand," says Audrey, "have always been remote figures who go to work, come home late at night and are often at conferences or other important functions at weekends.”

“No matter whether the mother works or not, dad's work is always seen as being far more important and as such dad remains the authority figure in the household. More importantly, children never see dad cleaning the toilet, or doing menial work around the house. Dad’s are cool!"

“I believe that older women get less respect than older men from the young things because children have been raised to see their mothers in menial nagging roles at home – their main function, attracting a man and raising children, being over, and that’s why they’re seen as dinosaurs,” explains Audrey. “When this lack of respect for their mothers is carried over to apply to all older women in the workplace, we get a particularly nasty form of ageism directed at women.”

“At 45 I don’t consider myself to be a dinosaur,” sighs Audrey, “but when everyone around you at work is a twenty-something, I guess that’s what I am and I either learn to live with it, or get out and start my own business or find a job in aged-care or something where 45 would be seen as being like a spring chicken.”

Read more by Audrey on this issue:

  • being old in a young workplace
  • an age old problem

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