Older people experience prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination because of their age. Sometimes however it is not age alone which drives unequal treatment. Other forms of discrimination can come into play, such as that based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and other characteristics.  

In our work, we strive to increase understanding of and address the complex forms of discrimination faced by older people. We aim to highlight the vast diversity of older people and stress how socio-economic status, gender, ethnic background, and other factors influence our experience of later life.  


Understanding multiple discrimination  

Multiple discrimination is an umbrella term used to describe cases when one ground of discrimination interacts with and/or compounds other forms of inequality and disadvantage. Multiple discrimination can manifest in different ways: 

Moreover, disadvantage earlier in life can result in increased likelihood of inequality in old age. Therefore, discrimination amongst older people also needs to consider the discrimination that people carry with them into old age:

Our key demands

  • Recognize and increase visibility of the diversity of older people 
  • Need for more disaggregated data on old age and older people  
  • Adoption of horizontal equal treatment directive covering age discrimination (among other grounds) including multiple discrimination beyond the field of employment 
  • Integration of older age/ageism perspective in the implementation of existing EU equality strategies and action plans  
  • Adoption of an EU Age Equality Strategy as a key tool to fight ageism and multiple discrimination in older age across the EU 
  • More support and funding for organisations representing minority groups and for small grassroots organisations to better address intersectionality in old age and beyond 

How we work

To address multiple forms of inequalities in older age, we work with AGE members and other equality networks, such as the European Disability Forum (EDF), the European Roma Grassroots Organisations Network (ERGO), the European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA Europe), the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN), the European Women’s Lobby (EWL), and the European network of equality bodies (Equinet).

Useful links  

To learn more about our work on multiple discrimination click on the following links:

List of AGE members working on multiple discrimination  

On gender equality:

On older Roma, minority ethnic communities, and/or migrant people:

On older LGBTI people:

On older people with disabilities:

It should be noted that older people experiencing multiple discrimination may not have the capacity or resources to get involved within civil society organisations. This absence of formal representation shouldn’t prevent us from engaging with representatives of community groups existing at grassroots level and use our platforms to make their voices heard.

If you want to share your work on/experience of multiple discrimination in old age, feel free to get in touch with us. 

Relevant resources

For more information, you may contact Nena Georgantzi: nena.georgantzi@age-platform.eu

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