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Aging public services and the position of older women : an Australian case study
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Linda ColleyLinda Colley
Contemporary labor markets are characterized by both aging of the workforce and the increase in participation of women. At the intersection of these two policy agendas are older women. Governments and employers recognize the importance of attract- ing and retaining older workers to address skills shortages, but the aging workforce discourse remains largely gender neutral. This research considers the intersection of age and gender in the con- text of public services, which are large employers of both women and older workers. It focuses on the agencies in an Australian state public service. The research ﬁnds that, despite decades of equal opportunity programs, there is still evidence of subtle inequali- ties and cumulative disadvantage. While the case study agencies employ a large proportion of older women, these women were gen- erally recruited at younger ages and aged within the workforce. Their advancement and development opportunities were also infe- rior to those of older men. Despite these lesser opportunities, older women are generally very satisﬁed with their employment, and the employer should explore these residual inequalities if genuinely seeking to attract and retain all older workers.