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Sign our petition for older women worldwide

Published on 27 September 2021 12:00 AM

To mark International Day of Older Persons on Friday 1st October, Age International is calling on the public to sign its petition lobbying the UK Government to give more support to older women, especially those living in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Age International is urging  the Government to include older women when setting its priorities for the new UK International Development Strategy. This urgent action draws on the finding of the  organisation’s new report, Older Women: the hidden workforce, which listens and gives voice to older women’s experience of work in Ethiopia and Malawi and the systemic failures many older women face on a daily basis and which consistently undermine their efforts to survive and live with dignity.

Current strategies do not adequately recognise the roles of older women across the globe, who often carry out relentless work with little or no choice, and often without support. Although these older women make substantial contributions when it comes to paid work and unpaid care and domestic work for their families, communities and economies, the low status they hold in their communities means many do not get the support they need to live in better health and with dignity.

Older women: the hidden workforce

We listened to the lived experiences of older women and know that the work they do is varied and vital yet lower paid and undervalued, and often including pressure from others to give extra time for caring and community work. We’re calling for their voices to be heard and their needs to be met.

Whilst the report draws on qualitative findings consisting of the lived experiences and voices of older women in Ethiopia and Malawi, it stems from the organisation’s network of expertise and partners working within communities on the wider context of the economic challenges facing older women in low and middle-income countries.

Many women in lower-income countries reach older age with practically nothing to their name - they have very few assets and savings. Most don’t own property and they have no access to a state pension or any kind of state benefits. To make matters worse they have limited work opportunities and little choice over the type of work they do, stripping them of their dignity and independence. Yet older people are often overlooked by policymakers, so Age International are calling on the Government to recognise their rights and needs in their new strategy.

This timely report from Age International shines a light on the experiences of older women across the globe, highlighting the vital contributions they continue to make through their paid and unpaid work, often in challenging conditions, facing double discrimination, not only on basis of gender but also on basis of age.

It is imperative that older women are supported to access decent work opportunities, and pensions, and that their voices are heard in the processes that shape public policy.

Diane Elson, Emeritus Professor University of Essex

Age International is calling on the public to sign a petition urging the Government to recognise gender inequality and explicitly include older women in their plans to tackle poverty in low and middle-income countries.

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Last updated: Dec 07 2021

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