Doing Ageism

A variety of research shows the existence of age discrimination in the EU (Sargeant, 2011; W. J. van den Heuvel, 2012). Although there is a legal non-discrimination framework within European Union law, which includes age discrimination (e.g. Articles 10 or 19 TFEU), the legally binding instrument only obliges Member States to prohibit age discrimination in the labour market (Directive 2000/78/EC). Protection against age discrimination in access to services and goods is not regulated yet. Consequently, there are different legal situations on the national level (Chopin & Germain 2015). Such differences in the legal framework can form the basis for differences in the experience of age discrimination. The implementation of anti-discrimination legislation has been shown to improve the situation of older workers (Neumark & Song, 2013), to influence the general perception of the problem (Havinga, 2002) and to affect individual assessments (Cox & Barron, 2012). On the basis of different qualitative methods, the experiences of older Austrian and Irish adults with age discrimination in access to services and goods is investigated. The aim is to show the range of different age discrimination experiences and how affected persons embed this experience in their experience of ageing, and how the experience is implicitly orientated by the country specific legal context and an associated overarching idea of justice and equality. The study provides insights into the macro-structural differences between the studied countries and offers first results from a series of stakeholder and expert interviews that were part of the explorative phase.


Public Policy and Public Perspectives on Aging

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

  • Stefan Hopf
    • PhD, School of Law, NUI Galway, Ireland Ireland