In order to inform her upcoming reports, the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, Claudia Mahler, has recently called on Member States, NGOs, National Human Rights Institutions, UN agencies and other stakeholders to submit contributions on the topics of ageism and age discrimination and on the challenges faced by older women. AGE responded to the consultation.
The Independent Expert is mandated by the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC/RES/33/5) to report on developments, challenges and protection gaps in the realization of the rights of older persons. Mrs Mahler is also in charge of assessing the implementation of national, regional and international standards and identifying best practices relevant to the rights of older persons. Throughout her work, the Independent Expert adopts an intersectional approach so as to address multiple and aggravated forms of discrimination faced by older persons.
Ageism as a driver of human rights violations in old age
In our response to this consultation we shared information about lived experiences of age discrimination and structural ageism that we have gathered through our members and our AgeingEqual campaign. We also explained how ageism drives other human rights violations, such as abuse and neglect that we have witnessed during the pandemic. We also highlighted the problem with age limits in surveys and studies and the fact that we have even less information regarding multiple forms of discrimination in old age. European law is not adequately equipped to prevent and address ageism and while the EU has adopted Strategies or Action Plans on Disability Rights, Gender Equality, LGBTI+ Equality, Roma, Children, but to date there is no specific policy framework nor priority in the work plan of the European Commission covering actions to promote equality on the basis of age. We believe that we need the equivalent level of visibility and coordinated action in order to address systematically and comprehensively ageism. Finally, we explained the elements of the right to equality and non-discrimination in older age that should be included in a new convention.
Inequalities faced by older women in the EU
In our response on the human rights of older women we pointed to the specific challenges faced by older women, namely with regard to employment, poverty and social exclusion, pensions and health, including the intersectional factors that exacerbate those challenges.
We have also highlighted the lack of data disaggregated by age groups and the under-representation of older women in most decision-making positions.