The UN global report on ageism kicks a worldwide campaign

“YES to ageing. NO to ageism!” by AGE Platform Europe

The United Nations has published the first ever global report on ageism. The report presents the latest evidence on the nature and magnitude of ageism, as well as its determinants and impact. It also outlines a framework for action to reduce ageism including specific recommendations for different actors (e.g. government, UN agencies, civil society organisations, private sector).

The findings of the UN report were presented on the occasion of an interactive online event on 18 March 2021, organized in the frame of the 46th session of the Human Rights Council. The event broadcasted a number of key messages:

  • Chronological age does not define us, our capabilities or our limitations;
  • Data about ageism are lacking, and research – including on how ageism intersects with other forms of discrimination – is critically needed;
  • Evidence-based interventions exist to build societies for all ages

Watch the recording of the event

Ageism is everywhere

Ageism affects people of all ages when they are considered ‘too young’ or ‘too old’ to do something. Both younger and older people suffer from ageism across many areas, such as employment, health, housing and politics.

Ageism is so pervasive that it is entrenched in our institutions (institutional ageism), in our relationships (interpersonal ageism), but can also be self-directed (internalised ageism).

Read AGE paper on structural ageism


Ageism is costly

Holding stereotypes or discriminating on the basis of age is harmful and costly. It affects people’s physical and mental health and takes huge economic toll on individuals and society.


Ageism can add to other inequalities

Ageism intersects and exacerbates other forms of disadvantage such as sexism, racism, or ableism. According to the report, younger women are more likely to experience ageism than younger men. Among older people, being care dependent, having lower life expectancy in comparison to the national average, or working in specific sectors (high-tech or hospitality) increase the risk of being a target of ageism.

Read AGE article on Human Rights, Ageing and Intersectionality in the Time of COVID-19


Ageism can be combatted

The report brings forward three forms of interventions that have proven to work to combat ageism:

  • Adopt policies and legislation that address age discrimination and inequality and human rights laws and ensure enforcement mechanisms and monitoring bodies are in place to follow up on the effective implementation of these policies and laws;
  • Run educational activities to help enhance empathy, dispel misconceptions about different age groups and reduce prejudice and discrimination;
  • Foster interaction between people of different generations to reduce ageism; this latest strategy is one of the most effective interventions to reduce ageism against older people.

As identified by the UN report, policy and laws are the first step to combat ageism. This is why AGE has launched a campaign to support the adoption of a United Nations convention on the rights of older people. 

Read more on how to join our #EULeadsTheRally campaign

The launch of this publication kicks off a global conversation on ageism that concerns us all and in which we all should have our say. Along with the report, the UN has therefore issued a toolkit on how to initiate your own conversations about ageism.


Help us combat ageism and build #AWorld4AllAges.
Join the movement and spread the word!

Useful links

Read UN global report on ageism
Summary of the report | en français | en español
Download the toolkit | en français | en español
Register your own events on ageism to keep the conversation going


Read also:

Learn about ageism


AGE Platform Europe is the European network of older people’s organisation.


Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *