Recent study reveals that yes, older women face more age discrimination in the workplace hiring process than older men and younger applicants of both genders.
This large study, done by the University of California, Irvine, and Tulane University, (National Bureau of Economic Research) and issued in October 2015, used evidence they found in over 40,000 job applications.
The study showed that resumes of older women received a lot less phone calls than older men as well as younger applicants of either gender, demonstrating age discrimination as well as sex discrimination in the hiring process.
The authors of the study created fake resumes for people in three age groups, in 4 different types of job categories (security guards, sales associates, janitors, and administrative positions), and across more than 10 cities. They spent a great amount of time researching so that these resumes came as close as possible to realistically representing people who would apply for certain jobs and then they sent them out to more than 40,000 online job application postings.
What the study then showed was that older men and women (over the age of 49) received significantly less job callbacks than younger men and women (between the ages of 29 and 31). But what was more intriguing was that older women, in particular, received far less callbacks than older men for similar positions.
It's not simply a problem in the hiring process, either, but in the workplace. Many older women with a lot of knowledge and experience are fired or demoted from their positions in favor of younger applicants.
Why might that be?
In positions such as administrative roles or sales associates looks may play a huge factor. And as society, the looks of older men are far less scrutinized that the looks of older women. You can see that at play in Hollywood, as many older women are passed over for roles in favor of younger female actresses. Another common thought is that women may have more familial responsibilities that they must attend to and therefore may not be capable of fulfilling all the job roles.
Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to win a claim of age discrimination or sex discrimination in the hiring process due to the burden of evidence on the plaintiff and this may even discourage people from trying.
How to overcome age and sex discrimination?
To overcome these types of discrimination workplace managers and supervisors need to actively work against workplace biases that may make them overlook very talented older women applicants.