Women over 50 in Wales “overlooked and undervalued” in workplace, new report finds
A new study from Chwarae Teg, Wales’ leading gender equality charity, has unveiled unsettling findings about the working experiences of women over 50 in Wales.
The study reveals that many women in this demographic feel overlooked by employers, government, and society, leading to significant consequences on their mental health and financial stability.
The report, entitled “Working Experiences of Women over 50 in Wales”, finds that these women face multiple forms of discrimination in the workplace, including both direct and indirect discrimination and harassment.
Nearly half of the women who reported sex/gender-based discrimination also experienced age-related discrimination, with negative repercussions on their confidence, wellbeing, and mental health.
An increasing number of women in this age group are taking on caring responsibilities for older parents, dependent children, or grandchildren.
This often prevents them from progressing in their careers and exposes them to the shortcomings of childcare and social care systems.
Furthermore, the stigma around menopause is found to be prevalent and stifling. The study found that 27% of women had taken time off work due to menopause symptoms, but less than half reported the real reason to their managers.
These challenges contribute to widening gender pay and pension gaps for women over 50.
The study found that the gender pay gap reaches 21% for women aged 50-59, while the gender pension gap in Wales is estimated to be 31.2%.
This leaves women at a significantly higher risk of financial hardship as they approach retirement.
In response to these findings, Chwarae Teg has made several recommendations.
These include a call for the Welsh Government to develop an Over 50s Guarantee to provide work, training, or self-employment opportunities for those not yet retired.
The charity also urges support services to ensure inclusivity for workers over 50 and employers to implement flexible working policies.
The charity’s Chief Executive, Lucy Reynolds, said, “Women over fifty are key to the economic health of our society, and support services and employers should be doing more to support them.”
“Government must address the gaps in childcare and adult social care to ensure that women can access employment if they choose to.”
The report underscores the pressing need to raise awareness of gendered ageism and associated issues such as menopause stigma.
It calls for systemic changes to ensure that women over 50 in Wales can secure and progress within work, free from discrimination and disadvantage.
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