I never knew until I did.
Sometimes, it’s hard to face reality.
Three years ago I lost a job that I loved. I was working for a global company on a contract and I was sure the role would go permanent till it didn’t. What was funny to me though, they simply chose not to pay for the experience I had. They saw and knew my worth and decided the old woman in the room was not a voice they needed.
My wisdom and customer care skills were useful during a crisis but once the crisis was past and I was no longer needed to field the global complaints I answered daily. It was easy for them to cut the cord. They hired 2 staffers under the age of 30 to replace me.
As a woman in her mid 50’s, I headed to the employment center to collect unemployment for the first time in years I was shocked with what I encountered. Everyone at the session I attended was a woman over 45 except for one gentleman.
As we celebrate women tomorrow, let’s remember there is still much work to be done.
Women Over 45 and the Workplace
Women age 45 and older are often pushed out the door of the workplace faster than any male counterpart. With the pandemic, these numbers have only increased. Only some of that can be attributed to caregiving ( a role women pick up in most families)
Parity, especially for an older woman, is elusive and many women do not make it to the C-suite. In 2019, less than 4% of the big Canadian companies were led by a woman. Less than 31 % of senior managers are female. If you look at work in the world of startups and tech roles held by women over the age of 45 are rare and hard to find.
Jobhunting for women over the age of 45 is extremely difficult. In my case, I sent out over 400 resumes. I got a few calls, 2 interviews in my year on unemployment. I took a very junior role and now earn $6 less an hour than I did in 2018. I remain in a third-party call center while looking and creating something better.
What does this mean for Canadian Women
First, we need to keep in mind that especially as we age we need to be prepared financially. We need to be smart with our spending, saving, and investing.
We need to be ready to learn new skills rapidly. Technology, social media, and the way we do business are constantly evolving. We must accept and adapt to our new realities.
We need to be constantly networking and supporting women who are doing good things. Remember when you amplify the voice of a smart educated woman who is leading out on a topic you lift all.
On this International Women’s Day there is much to be done to give women parity and inclusion.
Personally, I have learned to have more than one stream of income, lift and encourage voices that can lead to change, and take things one day at a time.