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For many older women this day is a reminder of days when we were treated as second class simply because we were women. There are still remnants of this left; women for example still don’t have equal access to top jobs. We take pride in having the first female Head of State and female Prime Minister in Australia but without discrimination both of these events would have happened long, long ago. They should be the norm.

As we age the memories of discrimination in all walks of life as women are revived as older people of both genders go through the same experiences women had when they were younger. As women worked their way up the ranks in all walks of life they were able to expose this discrimination and show that it wasn’t based on fact. Unfortunately it is going to be even more difficult for older people to expose the baseless discrimination against us as the same barriers are existing today, often by women.

If you ask people involved in government departments that determine and carry out policies regarding the ageing how many older people (over 65) are employed in their departments they either conveniently don’t know or they give a ridiculously high figure to shut you up. Even the two organisations which purport to represent older people appear to be mainly staffed by younger people. A condition of funding for any agency, government or private, which deals with issues about older people should be that they have a very high proportion (over 90% would be good) of older people. Like everyone else older people don’t like being told what to do by people inexperienced in ageing! Nor can younger people really be aware of what it is like to be ageing.

Of course, like women in the past, older people may need to prove that we are as capable as younger people. If opportunities don’t open up for us we need to make our own. In the past women had to do it with little ones in tow. As older people we have to do it with our arthritis and other afflictions in tow!

Today should be a reminder for all groups that being discriminated against, unless it is based on proven fact rather than bias, is not acceptable.

Lets hope that all those celebrating International Women’s Day will also be aware of other types of unfounded discrimination.