Women over 50 feel 'invisible' and 'overlooked by employers, government and society' - report says

The report reveals that many women in this age group face barriers to remaining in work, and experience disadvantage and discrimination within work. Credit: PA Images

A new report reveals "too many women" aged 50 and over feel "invisible and overlooked by employers, government and society".

Gender equality charity Chwarae Teg published the report which shows many women in this age group face barriers to remaining in work, and experience disadvantage and discrimination within work.

Women over 50 are experiencing "multiple forms of discrimination" in the workplace, the charity has said.

Nearly half who reported discrimination based on sex/gender also experienced indirect and direct discrimination and harassment.

Caring for older parents and younger people are "preventing" women in this age group progress in their careers, according to the charity. Credit: PA Images

Chwarae Teg also found that menopause stigma is "persistent" and prevented women from having open conversations with managers and colleagues about their needs:

  • 27% of women had taken time off work because of menopause symptoms

  • Less than half had told their manager the real reason for their absence

Chwarae Teg’s is now calling on the Welsh Government to develop an 'Over 50s Guarantee,' to make sure people who have not reached retirement have access to work, training or self-employment.

In response, the Welsh Government said “supporting older workers to stay in work offers employers a rich source of talent and provides a catalyst for a more inclusive workplace overall.

The Welsh Government said it is "working hard" to create a more equal and prosperous Wales".

It added: "That’s why we fund a range of initiatives to support older people to do just that – from programmes to help them retrain and develop new skills, to support with overcoming poor health.

"These initiatives are part of our wider work on achieving gender equality.”

Chwarae Teg also hopes that there will be more awareness of gendered ageism and support for women experiencing the menopause, to ensure they can "secure and progress" within work.

Lucy Reynolds, the Chief Executive of Chwarae Teg, said: “This research exposes the specific barriers and discrimination that women over fifty face in the labour market in Wales. It also shows the impact of gender inequality, which widens as we age.

“Women over fifty are key to the economic health of our society, and support services and employers should be doing more to support them to secure and progress within meaningful work. Women remain most likely to reduce hours or leave work entirely to care for family members.

"Our research shows that women over fifty are doubly impacted by the lack of adequate provision of both childcare and adult social care as they are more likely to be caring for grandchildren and ageing parents.

"Coupled with the patchy offering of flexible working, many women over fifty are leaving or reducing fulfilling work due to caring responsibilities."