Age United: Older people against age discrimination


An Age Demands Action activist in Ethiopia. An Age Demands Action activist in Ethiopia. Photo: HelpAge International

By 2050 there will be 2 billion older people globally. As this number grows, the number of older women and men who experience discrimination will increase if action is not taken.

That's this year's message from Age Demands Action, an international campaign calling for the protection of older people's rights.

Older people's organisations in over 40 countries will unite to take action on 1 October, UN International Day of Older People.

Campaigners will take part in national and local activities that push for improved policies and urge for recognition and support of older people's vital contribution to society.

Outraged by ageism

From witchcraft allegations in Kenya, to landgrabbing in Bolivia, older people face discrimination every day.

Richard Blewitt, Chief Executive of HelpAge International, says:
"At last the world is beginning to wake up to the issue of global ageing.  Within 10 years, for the first time in human history, there will be more people aged 65 and over in the world than children under 5.

"Increased longevity is a sign of progress for human development. Yet all too often older people are portrayed as a drain on economies.

"Age Demands Action shows that around the world older people are no longer accepting that image. They're fed up at being ignored. They're outraged about global ageism, and so are we.  

"Older people remain among the poorest and most vulnerable groups in our society. Worldwide, over 100 million live on less than US$1 a day. Yet, despite this chronic poverty, the majority of these older people support themselves and continue to contribute to their families and communities.

"Now that we have the facts about global ageing, it's time for governments and international donors to start investing in the productive and social capacities of older people.

Age Demands Action

Age Demands Action is the first worldwide campaign of its kind, launched in 2007 by HelpAge International, the global network fighting for the rights of older people.

Delegations are organising a wide range of activities including:

  • meetings with presidents in Nepal, India and Ghana, the Prime Minister in Tanzania, the Vice-President in Malawi and the first lady in Zambia

  • meeting with local councillors in Manilla, the Philippines, to get age included in spending plans

  • rights events in 12 camps for internally displaced people in Darfur

  • awareness raising marches in Kenya, Sierra Leone, Ghana, South Africa, Philippines and a rally of 2000 in Malawi.

Raising a finger for rights

Alongside individual country activities, the campaign is calling on the international community to protect older people's rights by introducing a UN Convention on the Rights of Older People.

At 1pm on 1 October Age Demands Action activists across the world will be raising their index fingers to signify their support for Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which reads: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights".

Age Demands Action
2009 is endorsed by politicians, celebrities, artists and musicians including Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

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Comments submitted for this page

  • DR. EDWARD SIEGEL (23 July 2013)

    In supposedly liberal Seattle in the supposedly liberal state of Washington at the supposedly liberal University of Washington the campus police as policy openly discriminate against elderly even former professors.
    Former(at 70) but still active scientists like myself(a physicist), having moved here for my wife's health issues (she got no decent treatment whatsoever from the much vaunted but greatly disappointing University of Washington medical center)have been forbidden from attending any seminars and colloquia, (or even contacting any faculty by any means whatsoever) in any departments whatsoever under penalty of arrest. (And I was starting to do joint research with several professors in several departments and have many books and much property on UW campus). This is in direct violation of all federal funding agency federal laws. What one sees is the sociological-dysfunctionality of ageism in their FEAR, FEAR of new visitors with new ideas that come from older visitors since much of their public posture(this "STEM" man tra) is media-hype P.R. show-biz to ensnare the young ONLY. And this ageism reinforced by their police is most especially true of departments like psychology, as well as philosophy and earth sciences, with some ageism also in physics and mathematics(the most friendly). Why I have been told by professors half my age that "it is O.K. TO ATTEND SEMINARS/COLLOQUIA, BUT YOU CAN'T ASK ANY QUESTIONS NOR MAKE ANY COMMENTS", even when they are about my work or fields that I was(and still am) an expert in, or in some cases the father of! To attend anything on UW campus, I must actually phone the UW police chief and get his permission, and I simply refuse to be treated in such a fascist ageism manner, reinforced by all department chairs, all deans, the provost, the president, the regents, and seemingly the supposedly liberal governor.
    University of Washington is a total disappointment with rampant police enforced ageism as official policy!!!

  • Ursula Barter-Hemmerich (09 September 2010)

    The page is excellent, not too long yet has all the essential information. Just what we need to motivate people.

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