“As soon as women show any visible signs of ageing, they are viewed as not only less attractive, but less competent,” says 72-year-old Bonnie Marcus.
The founder of Bonnie Marcus Leadership in Santa Barbara, California, she coaches women on how to advance their careers and hosts the podcast Badass Women at Any Age. She argues that as women become old, they face the double whammy of sexism and ageism.
Tricia Cusden is the founder of Look Fabulous Forever, a make-up vary for older women. “I’m 72 and I’m working as hard as I’ve ever worked,” she says. “In fact, my age is the biggest benefit. It’s my biggest asset,” she provides emphatically.
Tricia gave up her job as a marketing consultant coach in the company world in her mid-60s to take care of her sick granddaughter. But when she acquired higher and Tricia wasn’t wanted anymore, she felt misplaced.
“I was very low and I felt very directionless. I didn’t have a life to go back to. And I thought I could live for another 30 years.”
The UN says the number of people over the age of 65 is growing faster than any other age group. It is anticipated to double in the subsequent 30 years, whereas the quantity of individuals over 80 is projected to triple.
But as the workforce will get older, ageism can also be changing into extra of a difficulty. Statistics from charity Age UK present that ageism is the commonest kind of discrimination in Europe – and it’s women who’re bearing the brunt of it.
“It’s maddening,” says Bonnie. “If you look old, especially as a woman, you don’t have any value anymore. Our society worships youth and beauty.”
Tricia did not try to re-enter the workforce. Instead, she determined to begin a brand new firm – a make-up line for older women. Despite being instructed she would fail – by the man who makes the in-store shows of a designer make-up model – seven years on she is the proprietor of a multimillion pound enterprise.
“I just thought, ‘Well, you’re a stupid man and I’ll show you!'” she says, explaining that he had instructed her that if her thought was going to achieve success, the huge magnificence companies would have already got thought of it.
He was improper. Tricia’s YouTube channel, to which she posts each day, has had tens of millions of views. And her 10-strong group on Look Fabulous Forever at the moment are getting extra orders than ever.
Tricia is one girl who has bucked the development however, globally, older women will not be solely much less represented in the workforce, they are less likely to be hired than an older man, according to the American Society on Ageing.
Men maintain the majority of positions in energy round the world, whether or not as a head of state or the boss of an organisation. In reality, women make up solely 7% of Fortune 500 CEOs in the US and simply 5% of the UK’s FTSE 100 CEOs.
“Above the unfairness, it doesn’t make economic sense,” says Bonnie Marcus. “Companies have to realise that women over 50 hold the purse strings.”
Indeed, harnessing older people in the workforce actually boosts a country’s GDP, in accordance to accounting agency PwC. In its newest Golden Index Age, which seems at how international locations utilise the energy of older individuals in the labour market, it discovered that if the 37 international locations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) raised employment charges for the over-55s to New Zealand ranges, the long-term GDP acquire might be as a lot as $3.5 trillion (£2.7tn).
New Zealand is commonly held up as the poster baby for feminine inclusion in all walks of life, whether or not it is in the company world or the political one, having been led by a feminine Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, since 2017.
“We are fortunate here,” says Saunoamaali’i Dr Karanina Sumeo, New Zealand’s Equal Opportunities Commissioner. “If I look at our enterprise sector, we have some nice leaders, who’re women, holding CEO roles.
“You can have diversity, but you’ve got to be at the table where the decisions are being made. It’s really, really important.”
As the coronavirus pandemic grips the world, statistics globally present women are already being affected extra in the financial fall-out. They are extra doubtless than males to lose their jobs – and it’s older women who’re amongst the first to go.
However, the UK skilled women’s community AllBright has discovered some excellent news. While Covid-19 is hitting women tougher professionally, the group says one in 4 is establishing her personal enterprise because of this. Yet as a feminine entrepreneur, there may be one other hurdle to face and that’s funding.
“Only 1% of venture capital goes to companies with all-female founders, and another 8% goes to companies with any female founders,” says Ruth Saunders, co-author of Female Entrepreneurs: The Secrets of Their Success.
“The reason is that the investor world is mainly men,” she says, claiming the knock-on impact is that women have to discover cash elsewhere. “Seventy-two percent of female entrepreneurs self-fund through friends and family, through credit cards, through crowdfunding. And so they struggle that much more.”
Tricia Cusden used her financial savings to begin Look Fabulous Forever and went on to entice traders. She desires economies to realise the energy and potential of older women.
She confronted sexism in her company profession in the Nineteen Eighties and thinks it’s greater than time for companies to step up.
“I do feel so sorry and desperate that 30, 40 years later, we’re still saying the same thing. You know, how could it still be the same? It’s crazy.”