Our consciousness raising about ageism reminds me of the days when gender diversity programs were in, right?
– Kim P.
Way back when. Yeah, or it feels way back when. We probably need them again, but in any case, yes, it’s the same format. It’s critical if we are to break down and through those ageist “gray ceiling” barriers.
For instance, it’s starting to have these conversations so that a Millennial can say to a Boomer, “Hey, you’re blocking my path. You know? The vertical hierarchy is much flatter than it used to be and there’s no place for me.” Right? Or for the Boomer to come up with its own fave prejudice of saying, “You’re lazy. You think you know it all,” to the younger generations. These conversations actually have to be facilitated. It’s the only way to go so that breakthroughs can emerge. These confronting conversations have to start at the top so that they flow out, up, and down across the entire enterprise, be they mega, large, medium or small.
First up, drop our biases, whether they’re age, gender, religious, or color of our skin. Whatever rises out of our shared intersectionality, confront it head on…together. Ageism and all the other “isms” are all on the same continuum, really.
We are now facing racism and racial injustice squarely on, with increased social awareness following the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and way too many others to name. We can also make room for confronting all the ways our “isms” lead to further societal decay and individual loss of freedom and dignity. Our future depends on it!
You see, there are a lot of people who say, “We have to take down ageism. We need a movement to take away ageism.” No, that will come in time. What we have to do is build age-friendly cultures which foster diversity, equity and equality across generations of leaders and workers. We need to fully embrace and live the notion that everyone is created equal and diversity is at the essence of a thriving collective.