Discrimination of any kind has become vocally illegal through multiple policies and laws as reform sweeps the country. Now, it’s possible for individuals to stand up for themselves legally when discriminatory acts occur in the workplace and in private. But in the world of academics, this practice still exists as seasoned scholars deal with the lesser-known or talked about the problem of ageism.
The switch from seeing seasoned scholars as experts versus on their way out and not up-to-date with current trends and technology has been plaguing academic experts for years. The stereotype of the elderly professor doesn’t fit in with the more acceptable diverse staff that many institutions are looking for. Ironically, as schools exclude the older members in their struggle to include minorities and diversity amongst their faculty, they turn aging scholars into exactly that of which they’re trying to include.
Discrimination in the Workplace
The discriminatory act can be subtle or obvious. In many cases, the abuse is so tenuous that the person on the receiving end feels uncomfortable but can’t quite place why. When discrimination happens at work, it’s possible to occur between coworkers, an employee and their employer, or an employee and another person at the site of the job. Any time you are receiving unfair treatment at work due to a protected class, it’s discrimination, and you should be aware of your rights.
Protected classes include demographics such as:
● Sexual orientation
● National origin
● Pregnancy status
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provides recourse for anyone who is discriminated against on these classes, noting that the most commonly filed claims are from people who were the victim of discrimination due to race, disability, sex, retaliation, and age.
Discrimination in the workplace can happen at any time before, during, and after you work for a business. Job classifieds may specifically request certain requirements to dissuade specific groups from applying. Interviews may contain questions that are geared towards successful answers from certain groups only. During the hiring process, terms and conditions may apply that are different for people based on their demographics and classes, or stereotypes prohibit a person from being hired in the first place. Once the hire occurs, employment discrimination can happen at any time.
Where is Ageism Seen in Academics?
There is an expected, ‘normal’ route followed by most scholars in the academic field. You finish your college education somewhere in your 20s or early 30s, and then begin pursuing your career in instructional capacities and research fields. Your goal is to focus on a path that takes you to tenure. Along the way, it’s quite possible to run into discrimination as a woman in an academic field, or if you have a disability, or if you’re a minority. These are unfortunate, but common, discriminatory categories in any field. Ageism, however, becomes a more common instance as your career progresses, or if you don’t start your path as is expected and deemed ‘normal.’
Instead of populating the field with individuals who are productive based on their research and publishing histories, allowing their merit to determine their career, many institutions begin focusing on filling those positions with diverse populations. Scholars advanced in their roles are considered to be old-fashioned and not up with the times, even if they have proven otherwise. Ageism requires that the older a scholar gets, the more they have to prove that they are dynamic and technologically sound, rather than having it assumed as would be the case with a younger, though less-experienced academic.
Tips to Combat the Practice of Ageism
Anyone who stays in their research career for their entire life is, at some point, going to come across someone judging them based on their age. To combat this practice, it’s important for the individual to stay up-to-date in their field and continue publishing impactful research.
Even tenure doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be insulated from the effects of this discriminatory practice.
The best way to protect yourself is to know that you are just as good, if not better, than the other applicants, and to be able to prove those skills should you need to call the EEOC to report discriminatory practices. Know your rights, always keep record of any potentially discriminatory actions, and be ready to step in and protect yourself through your legal resources.
Using Impactio to Prove Your Scholasticism
Part of staying relevant in your field is keeping up with the technology available, including how you choose to submit your research. Impactio ensures that you always have the latest innovations available to publish your work and demonstrate your professionalism. With Impactio, you get to demonstrate your knowledge and show off your scholasticism, regardless of your age or any other class you might fall in.