A Closer Look

Older Women – Study finds robust evidence of age discrimination in hiring

A study that came out last fall by economists at the University of California at Irvine and Tulane Government’s older workers champion Ros AltmannUniversity found “robust evidence of age discrimination in hiring against older women.” The data show that it is harder for older women to find jobs than it is for older men.

The researchers created 40,000 job applications for fictional job seekers and submitted them to a variety of online job postings. They made resumes for older applicants (ages 64-66), middle-aged applicants (49-51), and younger applicants (29-31). After monitoring employers’ responses to these dummy applications, the researchers concluded that the evidence shows it is more difficult for older female workers to find jobs. For example, the authors reported that the callback rate for middle-aged female sales applicants was lower than for younger ​female​ applicants, while callback rates for middle-aged and young male applicants were similar.

The authors suggested two possible theories for why older women may suffer from age discrimination more than older men: one is that age discrimination laws do not deal effectively with the situation of older women who face both age and gender bias; the other possibility touches on society’s focus on the physical appearance of women, a scrutiny that does not seem to similarly impact men.

Source: Older Women Are Being Forced Out of the Workforce

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