Last December we endorsed, together with 9 EU and international organisations working for older people, a statement for the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. In this statement we shed light on the specific situations of older women in Europe and worldwide, which have been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. We explain how the disadvantages faced by women globally are cumulative over the life-course, making older women particularly vulnerable to abuse and violation of their human rights.
We also made a number of recommendations to governments, asking them to:
- Show political will – as duty bearers – to promote and protect older women as rights holders, in line with the principles and standards of international human rights bodies, and to inform them about these rights and their entitlements.
- Adopt a life-course approach that recognizes intergenerational solidarity for improving the lives and dignity for women of all ages, everywhere, and views older women as rights holders and as full participants for age-inclusive policy planning and service delivery.
- Ensure the equal rights of all women and girls across the life course in line with the principles and standards of international human rights bodies. Align legislation and public policies with human rights principles and standards, a life-course perspective and be age-inclusive.
- Make age discrimination, including intersectional discrimination on the basis of age and gender and ageism, illegal together with gender discrimination, as it is a key driver of social and economic discrimination and inequalities in older age, denying older women their rights and restricting the potential of millions of women now and in the future.
- End discrimination in education at all levels based on age as well as gender and/or disability and ensure universal access to lifelong learning.
- Ensure the full participation of older women in all planning and decision making processes and give information on their rights and entitlements and ensure they are empowered to claim them. Remove age barriers to work and extend labour market opportunities to older women.