Women reach 40 and hit their stride … only to be cruelly shoved aside at work | Rachel Shabi

Women reach 40 and hit their stride … only to be cruelly shoved aside at work | Rachel Shabi

The Guardian

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It’s no coincidence that women are sidelined once they become confident enough to stop conforming to sexist standards

Perhaps you have heard about the mysterious case of the disappearing older woman, who almost overnight seems to vanish from the workplace, the media landscape and society’s line of vision. As others have chronicled, women over 40 face a sucker punch of ageism wrapped in sexism: as our youth recedes, our currency crashes.

This hits hard at work, where we already know that multiple barriers stymie careers for those women who decide to have children. The unequal burden of unpaid labour only adds an extra blockade. Throw in some everyday workplace sexism: role-stereotyping, devaluing, appearance-judging and harassment dressed up as banter. Put it all together and it turns out that these endless obstacles do in fact obstruct, leaving fewer older women in senior jobs, or even in work at all. But the absolute kicker to this trajectory is that the sidelining takes place precisely at the time when many women find their confidence and hit their stride.

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