Ageism in Academia

The Equity Committee of University of Western Ontario Faculty Association, along with the Office of the Provost, is co-hosting a half-day workshop to raise awareness about age discrimination as a human rights issue.


Ageism in Academia will be held Wednesday (Jan 21) in the Faculty of Law’s Moot Court Room (Room 207) from 2-5 p.m. and is open to the entire campus.

Research has shown that age discrimination is endemic in North American society, arguably because of our culture’s obsession with youth. Unfortunately it is also very hard to recognize.

For one thing, ageism doesn’t just affect the “old”. For another, it is more often about what doesn’t happen than what does. A staff member is denied a training opportunity because the program is designed for “young people”; a mature student is told that family responsibilities are not grounds for requesting a change in work schedule; a forty-something new Ph.D. finds that the jobs are all going to his younger, less qualified peers.

The workshop will discuss how ageism manifests itself, whom does it affect, and what are its broader consequences. A secondary and perhaps even more important goal, however, is to come up with ways to deal with this problem. Members of the audience will be invited to share stories, observations, and ideas for combating ageism on campus.

A series of short presentation on different aspects of age discrimination will begin the workshop. The speakers and their topics include:

•Gaile McGregor (Sociology): The Legal Context of Age Discrimination

•Julie McMullin (Associate Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences): The Signs and Impact of Age Discrimination in Employment

•Michael Lynk (Faculty of Law): The Intersection of Age and Disability

•Donna Moore (Mature Student Advisor): How Ageism Affects Older Students