The great ageing debate

13 April 2022

Professor Nancy Pachana from UQ’s School of Psychology featured on ABC Radio Afternoons talking about ageing and why some people celebrate it while others quietly wish it away.

“There’s real differences between the genders in terms of how they experience ageism,” Professor Pachana said.

“There’s a lot of emphasis on the looks of women.

"Women for example are expected to dye their hair or in certain industries you’re expected to look a certain way, so in a way that’s harder.

“You mentioned that label silver fox before, well I say there’s equally pejorative labels for older men- such as 'dirty old man'.

“Both men and women can be pigeonholed into these really negative stereotypes when they get older."

Professor Pachana also spoke about how ageism can affect people being employed.

Numerous studies have been done that show when someone’s age isn’t displayed on a resume they will be called in for an interview. However when it is, their application will more likely be declined if they are over the age of 50.

“It’s terrible because it’s denying people the chance to be more active and engaged in what they really want to do ,” Professor Pachana said.

“It comes back to ageism and this idea that older people can’t learn, are set in their ways or don’t know how to work the computer.

“All of these are stereotypes, just like how there are stereotypes against younger people too, and if we base hiring people or how we treat people based on these stereotypes- it doesn’t see the person in front of you.”

Listen to the interview