• working in industry

    Women over 50 are the first generation to have been protected by equal pay and sex discrimination laws, and the first to have rights to paid maternity leave. Yet after decades of hard work, many of women of my generation feel, to be frank, short changed.  The fact that this generation of women earns a fifth less than their male counterparts and less than any other age group of women should set alarm bells ringing.

    Today the TUC launches a detailed report on the issues facing women over the age of 50 in the labour market.

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    Posted on February 27th, 2014 by Kay Carberry filed under: Blog, Work

  • A rigid workplace culture is making it hard for older women to balance their careers with caring responsibilities.

    Here Josune, a working grandmother, talks about how hard it can be to get flexible hours.

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    Posted on February 27th, 2014 by Case Study filed under: Blog, Work

  • A woman removes a theatrical mask

    As an actress I trained for my profession believing I would portray my sisters, even when old, so long as my ability to remember my lines was unimpaired.  Then I hit fifty and everything changed. My story is not unusual.

    Dame Harriet Walter, an accomplished and celebrated actress, wrote recently, “It’s not about us”, referring to the invisibility of the older woman, not just about our image but also our lives, because the media in general is about telling a story, and the stories told are rarely about us.

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    Posted on November 13th, 2013 by Jean Rogers filed under: Work

  • It’s no secret that we all seem to gather more and more caring responsibilities as we go along. Nor is it any great secret that women tend to accumulate more caring responsibilities than men. Grandparents Plus and others have rightly highlighted the growing importance of grandparents caring for children as the cost of formal childcare spirals out of reach for many families. When I recently surveyed union members aged 50 +about juggling caring responsibilities and work, I was expecting a high proportion of respondents to cite grandparenting duties as one of the main caring responsibilities. Indeed, some 60% of those questioned reported that they look after a family member or friend as well as going to work. Perhaps unsurprisingly the majority of those who had caring responsibilities (50%) were caring for a parent. What surprised me more was that the next largest group being cared for by respondents was children, rather than grandchildren.

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    Posted on November 6th, 2013 by Scarlet Harris filed under: Blog

  • This time next week, on Thursday 7 November, will be Equal Pay Day. This is the day when women working full-time effectively stop being paid for the year because they still earn, on average, 15 per cent less per hour than men.

    Even worse, if there was an Equal Pay Day for working women over the age of 50, it would have been three weeks ago on 10 October. This is because the gender pay gap for women in their fifties is 22.5 per cent – the widest gender pay gap of any age group

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    Posted on October 31st, 2013 by Michelle Doust filed under: Blog

  • Last week, on 1 October, was Older People’s Day in the UK and the UN International Day of Older Persons. However, age discrimination continues to be a problem in our country so in this post we’re going to look at the discrimination issues still facing older people, particularly the long-term unemployed.

    We shouldn’t need to be signing petitions on this issue but we do. In fact age discrimination may be the last bastion of widespread and endemic prejudice – despite it being unlawful.

    It must be admitted the law against age discrimination has been a stop-start affair since the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations were introduced in 2006 in a way that allowed employers to routinely sack people at the age of 65 – the “default retirement age” as it was called. Sadly, even though forced retirement has been now made unlawful too, it remains the case that ambivalent attitudes to age reign supreme.

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    Posted on October 9th, 2013 by Chris Ball filed under: Blog

  • Photo of an old suitcase with name tags and labels. Photo © Hin Pang for

    Part of the Wai Yin Centre’s 20 year anniversary exhibition © Hin Pang.

    As part of a collaborative project, Wai-Yin, a community centred organisation in Manchester, and the Centre for Research into the Older Workforce are working together to explore the views of older Chinese migrants about rises in the State Pension Age and broader public policy measures meant to encourage workers to delay retirement.

    Over a six week period, we have worked with a group of eight older people within the Manchester Chinese community to explore the feasibility of working longer in the kinds of work which they do. We also interviewed members of the Wai Yin executive board to find out the big challenges facing the community with regard to employability.

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    Posted on August 20th, 2013 by Matthew Flynn filed under: Blog

  • One in five members of Usdaw is a woman aged 50 and over and so issues of how unions can best support and defend the interests of older women are very real for us, as for many other TUC affiliated unions.

    The TUC’s recent survey of older women workers has generated a strong response from Usdaw members. It gave us the opportunity to find out more about the concerns of a section of our membership who have often been overlooked by policy makers and employers.

    The work being done by the TUC and Labour Party on older women is a timely reminder that we must not forget older women workers. Unions need to show that we are in touch with the reality of older women’s daily lives. Working people see that unions have something to offer when we take up the issues that matter to them and their families. Travelling home from work late at night, women’s health issues, juggling work with caring and being treated with dignity and respect at work are all mainstream trade union issues that directly affect the lives of many older women.    

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    Posted on July 25th, 2013 by John Hannett filed under: Blog, Work

  • It is easy to look back and think about what might have been in all parts of our lives. One opportunity that may present itself now, which may have been impossible when younger, is education. You might have seen younger members of the family do well in subjects you didn’t know existed when you were younger and at work younger colleagues may shine with up-to-date IT skills or by using social media.

    Increasingly older people are returning to study on a part time basis. Sadly increased tuition fees have seen full time mature student numbers fall in universities.

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    Posted on June 17th, 2013 by Chris Haswell filed under: Blog

  • The recent death of Margaret Thatcher prompted me to look again at the Thatcher ‘biopic’, The Iron Lady, a film which provoked some manufactured outrage in the right wing press on its release.  In fact, The Iron Lady is in many ways a fairly standard biographical film, since it begins from the premise that Margaret Thatcher is a significant historical figure whose greatness is already given, and it seeks to tell her story through its presentation of ‘key moments’ in her  life.  Where the film is distinctive, and disturbingly so (and it is this that the right-wing commentators initially picked up on), is in its framing of Thatcher’s successful years as Prime Minister through a narrative about aging as a process of inevitable decline and loss. Although my reasons are different, I think they were right to protest, and I will explain why.

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    Posted on June 14th, 2013 by Estella Tincknell filed under: Blog