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New research finds ageism is the most accepted form of prejudice in Australia

A new report released today by the Australian Human Rights Commission has found most Australians (90%) agree ageism exists in Australia, with 83% agreeing ageism is a problem and 65% saying it affects people of all ages.

These findings were included in the Commission’s latest report, led by Age Discrimination Commissioner Dr Kay Patterson AO, What’s age got to do with it? A snapshot of ageism across the Australian lifespan.

The report found ageism remains the most accepted form of prejudice in Australia, with 63% having experienced ageism in the last five years.

“Ageism is arguably the least understood form of discriminatory prejudice, with evidence suggesting it is more pervasive and socially accepted than sexism or racism,” Dr Patterson said.

The research was undertaken by the Commission in 2020 and 2021 to explore what Australians think about age and ageism across the adult lifespan. It found ageism is experienced in different ways:

  • Young adults (18-39) are most likely to experience ageism as being condescended to or ignored, particularly at work.

  • Middle-aged people (40-61) are most likely to experience ageism as being turned down for a job.

  • Older people (62+) are more likely to experience ageism as being ‘helped’ without being asked.

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