Ageism is experienced both by older and young people, yet is all too often overlooked. It is entrenched in attitudes but also in organisations, laws, policies and practices that create disadvantages or obstacles to the equal participation of the young or the older generation. Whereas the prohibition of age discrimination in the field of employment reflects the growing recognition that discrimination on the basis of a personai??i??s age can be harmful to individuals and society, differential treatment in other areas of life, such as access to health care, consumer goods and services, education and social protection is often regarded as justified, acceptable, or even necessary.
This 8th edition of the EU Day of Solidarity between Generations presents an opportunity to shed light on the widespread experiences of ageism at both ends of the life spectrum and how they lead to inequalities and exclusion. The event organised by AGE Platform and The European Youth Forum at the European Parliament, highlighted that greater intergenerational exchange and solidarity are needed to break stereotypes and ensure that young and older people are equal partners in positive change for the creation of fairer, more inclusive and sustainable societies.
Mutual support needed for growth
In todayai??i??s context of financial crisis, mass unemployment and changes in family structures, the need to promote inter- and intra-generational solidarity is obvious.
The labour market needs to be redesigned to support all ages and prevent long-term unemployment of both youth and older workers. Letting tensions grow between youth employment and flexible retirement is exacerbating the divides between generations and puts at risk social cohesion and equity in our societies. Skills transfers between generations are essential in both directions ai??i?? i.e. ensuring older people have the necessary digital skills, as well as passing down their knowledge and experience. How can a society grow if it cannot benefit from the experiences and mutual support of all age groups?
Changes in family structures are also impacting solidarity between generations. People tend to live apart more than they used to do while the growing number of nuclear families, care duties and the economic crisis re-unite family members from different ages often in difficult situations. In times of growing social inequalities and exclusion, solidarity is the answer and all efforts supporting intergenerational initiatives must be valued and supported.
This requires the involvement of all stakeholders: policy makers of all levels, employers, trade unions, civil society organisations, and citizens themselves. Most of the initiatives are currently carried out at the local level, following a bottom-up approach. It is now time that, at EU level, European legislations and recommendations pay more attention to the pressing need to strengthen solidarity.
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The European Commissionai??i??s upcoming ai???skills agendaai??i?? offers the perfect momentum to support intergenerational solidarity, inside and outside the labour market. Think of digital cafAi??s, volunteering opportunities, places where old and young can meet, learn from each other and build their community together. While the European Accessibility Act will remove barriers that many older persons and younger persons with disabilities face to contribute to the society, the long-awaited Horizontal Directive is a necessity to provide us with the adequate framework to ban all forms of discrimination outside employment and improve social equity.
Communities need to be recreated at a local level, but they will not be able to really develop if a supportive legislative framework is not in place and/or not well implemented. It is not a matter only of personal and human rights, but also of collective rights and for the future of the planet. Intergenerational solidarity needs to be higher on the political agenda. We trust that enhanced cooperation between youth organisations and older personsai??i?? organisations at all levels will effectively contribute to this agenda so we can build a society for all ages.
Happy 8th EU Day of Solidarity between Generations!
Anne-Sophie Parent and OphAi??lie Durand
AGE Platform Europe best price for viagra 100mg. is a European network of more than 150 organisations of and for people aged 50+ representing directly over 40 million older people in Europe. AGE aims to voice and promote older peopleai??i??s interests in the European Union and to raise awareness of the issues that concern them most.