In the dynamic realm of business, women often grapple with the notion of timing – the right moment to chase entrepreneurial dreams, seek promotions, or start a family. Dispelling this notion, recent research on ageism suggests that there is neither a perfect nor an imperfect time for women in the workplace. The key? Do what you want, when you want to.
Women across various fields are increasingly adopting this mindset, achieving remarkable milestones irrespective of age. Examples abound, such as Leslie Jones joining SNL at 47, Julia Child releasing her first cookbook at 49, and Wally Funk becoming the oldest woman in space at 82. However, ageism remains an underlying challenge, manifesting in both hard and soft forms.
Hard ageism involves unlawful practices like age-based discrimination in hiring and promotions, while soft ageism encompasses legal yet insidious interpersonal biases. For women, ageism is pervasive throughout their careers, with biases evident in early career stages, hindering opportunities for advancement.
To combat these challenges, fostering awareness and education is crucial. Acknowledging and challenging biases, both personal and systemic, is a starting point. Organizations can promote mentorship programs that empower women of all ages, recognizing that mentorship is a reciprocal relationship.
Implementing age-blind application processes, eliminating age-related information from applications can further mitigate biases. Building mixed-age teams and cultivating multigenerational collaboration not only nurtures diversity but also fosters innovative outcomes.
A call to action involves creating multigenerational networks, providing platforms for women at different career stages to connect, share experiences, and collectively pursue success. By embracing women of all ages and fostering initiatives that bridge generational gaps, workplaces can become more inclusive and diverse.
The right time for women in business is now, regardless of age. Collaboratively dismantling barriers and biases, we can create an environment where women thrive, contributing their valuable skills and perspectives. The clock is ticking, urging us to collectively shape a future of equal opportunities.
Re-reported from the article originally published in The Forbes