Raising the Voices of Older Women at CSW67: New Resources on Gendered Ageism

HelpAge is raising the voice of older women within the international movement for gender equality at the 67th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which takes place from March 6-17 in New York City.

Older women are an integral part of our communities and of wider society. Yet, as women age, they often report feeling invisible and can face widespread discrimination based on both their age and gender.
Older women are often ignored and excluded from global gender policies, as they are not considered active, contributing members of society. Governments do not sufficiently consider or value their rights and their contributions to sustainable development. 

“Older women are not recognized… as human beings. They are treated like second-hand [class] citizens. Nobody is bothered about them. You go [to a healthcare facility] and definitely you will be given an aspirin, not anything concerning your treatment [or] your sickness.”
Older woman, 62, urban area, Uganda

HelpAge is committed to ensuring more inclusion of older women in all aspects of life, and making sure that their experiences are listened to. Our engagement at the UN CSW is just the first step. 

Learn more about our work during the UN Commission on the Status of Women and check out our new resources on gendered ageism below.

On March 7, HelpAge was proud to host a parallel event during the CSW featuring expert-led conversations on the situation, perspectives, and rights of older women, which are often overlooked in discussions concerning women’s empowerment and gender equality. 

The event was part of the NGO CSW Forum 67 and was led by HelpAge International in partnership with AARP and Reach a Hand Uganda.

As part of our March 7th parallel event, HelpAge launched a new report on older women’s lived experiences of gendered ageism.
The report presents the voices of 18 older women from Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda as they give concrete examples of the discrimination they have faced in all aspects of their lives and and what changes they would like to see from those in positions of power.

“Sometimes when I go to the hospitals, they can’t even see that I am [an] older woman who needs to be cared for, but I am used to that, I just take it as it is, I know that we are not respected because we [are] considered as just consumers without being productive.”
Older woman, 75, rural area, Rwanda

Bringing generations together for change in Uganda

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United for older women’s rights in Kenya

In Kenya, older people can be subjected to harmful practices such as witchcraft accusations. Violence and killings disproportionately affect older women, particularly poor, old widows living in rural areas.
Helen is a human rights activist fighting against this harmful practice in Kisii County in Kenya. She champions for the rights of older people accused of practicing witchcraft. This is her inspiring story.  
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