• 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

  • 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

  • So you are in the office and your colleagues are discussing volunteers for the redundancy package they include you, after all you’ve been here forever and those looking to go are your age.

    You bite back the ‘I am about a decade too young and can’t afford it’ retort and mutter something about lots of part-time service. It is the case women are far more likely to have worked part-time and to have broken service. They may have opted out of the pension scheme, choosing to pay for childcare instead. What may be a good idea for some men in their fifties and early sixties, to take a redundancy/early retirement package is less likely to appeal to women the same age.

    So what if your workplace/job is under threat, what can you do?

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    Posted on May 1st, 2013 by Chris Haswell filed under: Blog, Work

  • A few days ago I spoke to several women aged between 50-65 working in low-ish wage jobs in unionised companies. Most had worked all their lives, many from the age of 15, bringing up families – without, as they pointed out, tax credits or other childcare support – and who now saw their retirement date receding as the state pension age went up.

    These were the common themes of their working lives:

    • Dwindling control over their working hours and shift patterns – playing havoc with caring responsibilities – for children, grandchildren, elderly parents.
    • Employers under pressure, passing the strain on to staff: more demanding targets; hours cut; jobs more dependent on advanced and changing IT skills; new competence-based assessments. All this hit older workers disproportionately – especially women who missed out on training opportunities the first time round, or who might be affected by menopausal symptoms.

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    Posted on April 4th, 2013 by Kay Carberry filed under: Blog, Work

  • Two weeks ago The Age and Employment Network (TAEN) published the latest edition of its 50+ Job Seekers Survey. Office of National Statistics figures show more older people in work and there is a general feeling that older people are doing reasonably well in the labour market.

    However, the sad fact is that embedded labour market disadvantages and ingrained ageist attitudes bar hundreds of thousands of older people from returning to work. It is clear that older job seekers struggle harder than most – they have the biggest problem of long term unemployment for example.

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    Posted on March 26th, 2013 by Chris Ball filed under: Blog, Work

  • Why are top positions in organisations occupied mainly by men?

    Why are there so few women in the Cabinet?

    Why are the majority of newsreaders/presenters/guests, older men, when they do not meet the standards of ‘attractiveness’ that are applied to women – of being young, thin, blonde and attractive? The abusive comments made about the wonderful and witty Mary Beard including being ‘too ugly for TV’ were truly shocking. Has any man been called ugly or vilified for being too clever and remaining grey?

    Discrimination still starts early and ages well. It affects all women, at all ages and at all levels in organisations, but is more obvious at the top.

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    Posted on March 20th, 2013 by Camilla Palmer filed under: Work

  • You’ve probably heard of the UK’s under-employment crisis, where three million people in Britain today are stuck in part-time jobs despite wanting full-time work, or want more hours in their current job.

    But while three million people want more work, and a further 2.5 million have no work at all, there are also millions of people who actually want less hours in their current job.

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    Posted on March 15th, 2013 by Rob Holdsworth filed under: Blog, Work

  • For many women aged over 50 staying in work long enough to receive a decent standard of living in retirement can be challenging.

    For others it can be impossible.

    The Pensions Policy Institute found that 50% of older workers will have to work for at least six years past their State Pension age in order to maintain their existing standard of living – in other words, it isn’t going to happen.  The gender pay gap may well exacerbate this for women.

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    Posted on March 12th, 2013 by Christopher Brooks filed under: Blog, Work