Too young or too old? Rocking it at any age with Bonnie Marcus

More than 80 percent of women worldwide have experienced gendered ageism in the workplace. Career coach, author and host of the podcast, Badass Women at Any Age, Bonnie Marcus shares findings from her research on gendered ageism --the intersectionality of gender bias and ageism. Given society’s hyper-focus on youth and beauty, older women can face being viewed not only as less attractive but also less competent and valuable than other women, while younger women are viewed as “too green” and incapable of strong leadership. How can organizational leaders understand and address the gendered ageism bias in order to recruit and retain the best talent? Don’t miss this timely discussion.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - Interview with Bonnie Marcus

Amanda Hammett: Good afternoon today we are talking to Bonnie Marcus about gendered ageism, and I am incredibly excited about today, but before we get into that, um, my name is Amanda Hammett and I am drinking my normal favorite raspberry hibiscus kombucha. Jeffery, what are you drinking today?

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Yeah, I've got a very nice Italian Pinot Grigio. And, uh, just before our show started, we were talking. About Italy with Bonnie, she was going to be going there. We're very jealous, but we have to focus on what we're, what we're going to be talking about today. So it's my absolute pleasure to introduce Bonnie Marcus, Bonnie is an executive coach author international speaker with a passion for helping professional women gain the visibility and credibility they need to have a fulfilling career. Bonnie's the author of two books, "The Politics of Promotion" How High-Achieving Women Get Ahead and Stay Ahead. And the recently published "Not Done Yet!". How women over 50 regain their confidence and claim workplace power. She's also the host of a podcast. About a bad-ass women at any age, and I'm going to, you know, shamelessly promote that. I was the first bad-ass man that Bonnie asked to, uh, to come on her show. So, uh, so I was so thankful for that.

Amanda Hammett: Well, wonderful. Well, Bonnie, welcome to Win(e)d Down Wednesday. What is your beverage of choice today?

Bonnie Marcus: Well, of course I'm on California time, so I, it would be hard for me to justify the Pinot Grigio, although Jeffery I'm still with you, but I have my kombucha shot and my favorite is gingerade.

Amanda Hammett: Oh yeah. That's a good one

Bonnie Marcus: No, like I'm addicted to this, so

Jeffery Tobias Halter: That's awesome.

Bonnie Marcus: A worst thing to be addicted to, right?

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Yeah. There you go. There you go. And, uh, and hopefully, you know, we, uh, you can enjoy, uh, another beverage, when it gets to be five o'clock your time. Um, so we're going to get started, Bonnie the question is always where to start. And so my first question is around what prompted you to write the book "Not Done Yet!" How women over 50 regain their confidence and claim workplace power.

Bonnie Marcus: You know, I was in New York for a networking coffee, with a female colleague who started to tell me her story, you know, we're kind of catching up and I'm like, how are things going at work or whatever. And she had been with a large global bank for 22 years. And she starts to tell me they just terminated her. She had worked her way up to be managing director. Right. So she had a stellar performance record, but she started to notice some of her young female colleagues were calling her a dinosaur, her boss wasn't including her in, in meetings anymore. And by the way, they were making fun of her because she wore pantyhose. She was over the hill. Um, she was extinct, so she did get, uh, terminated and they called it downsizing, but she knew better that it was gendered age-ism and of course this and another coaching client I had, who worked in Silicon Valley in, in, on a legal team there um, had similar experiences she wasn't let go, but she was marginalized. And I said, there's, there's gotta be more to this. I have to start doing some more interview. And of course I did find that the more I spoke with women, women, you know, even 40 and over, they were experiencing the intersection of gender bias and ageism.

Amanda Hammett: When I was reading the research that we had pulled together for this episode, I was like, yes, I see this. I know this personally, but also I see this as well. So in researching your book, you found that gendered ageism affects women at all stages of their careers, but most notably under the age of 35 and over 50. Which I could not agree more, but especially in this world, this economy, this workplace that we're dealing with now. So could you tell us a little bit more about that research? What did you find?

Bonnie Marcus: So I did find that 77% of women under 35 experienced gendered ageism. And what did that look like? Their opinions weren't valued. They weren't invited to key meetings. They didn't have credibility. They weren't considered to be, you know, a valuable contributor. They didn't have enough experience and they were viewed as being too young. And at the other end of the spectrum now, women who hit 59 to over 60 had similar experiences, 88% of them experienced gender ageism. But the interesting thing is that. It improves slightly for women between the ages of 35 and 40. It's like, Amanda that's one nanosecond where women looking to be the right age. But of course, chances are we're having children at that age. And so we're also then facing the motherhood penalty. Um, and that affects, um, our income. If our company doesn't have flexibility, we may be forced to, to opt out, at center, but so 35 to 40 is that sweet spot. And then every year incrementally, every year after 40, till you hit 55 or so it increases it's just mind boggling to, you know, as.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: It is just mind boggling, to you know. It's, It's You know, Amanda and I've done so many shows about the war for talent and, you know, the, the gap between what companies need and the available people that are out there. And yet, you know, this is still, so I think so common in the workplace and, and we could easily be talking about older white men as well. You know, I have a number of conversations with my colleagues who are you know, men in their sixties who are basically saying, Hey, you're done, you know, here's your package. Um, but I know there are so many more nuanced layers that, that women face that are, that are just horrific. Um, I'm curious in your research, what have you found, uh, for best practices? What are fortune 500 companies doing to retain women over 50? What are training programs or, or policies? What have you seen that's working to keep them in the workforce.

Bonnie Marcus: I haven't seen a lot. I haven't seen, I haven't seen a lot of companies addressing the intersection of gender bias and ageism, it's really not on their radar. Now, a lot of companies and you know, this Jeffery are trying to, um, improve. Uh, the workplace for women, they're trying to attract and retain women, and very many of them have some, they've made some public, goals and, and announcements about what they're trying to, to achieve to women through the pipeline and advance them to leadership positions. But a lot, but companies aren't really addressing the ageism issue. And, you know, part of my work and, you know, banging the drum here is that we need to build more awareness for companies about why this is important. It's not just a nice to have, um, similar to the, what we said about gender bias. It's not just a good thing to do to embrace women. It actually helps your business.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: If you were talking to CEOs, what, what are one or two things you would tell them to do.

Bonnie Marcus: The first thing I would tell them to do it's it may be even like a surprising, um, request. Don't make assumptions about the women in your workplace and what they are experiencing. So very often companies will say, okay, we need to, uh, create some solutions or make a new initiative around this issue. But they're assuming. What that experience is like for their employees. So I think, you know, if I was talking to anyone in the C-suite or anybody who's head of diversity and inclusion, it's create some kind of a survey, uh, you know, for your female employees and find out exactly what they are experiencing on this topic, because for you to create solutions, that, that, um, are based on assumptions may miss the mark. So similar to the survey that I designed for my research designed something accustomed survey, um, that will help you to really pinpoint what some of the issues are, how they are being addressed, or maybe they're not being addressed by HR and your managers, and then put some programs in place.

Amanda Hammett: Wise, wise words Bonnie Well, first of all, thank you for being with us. Uh, this topic, I think, is something that is not getting the airtime. It deserves. Um, ageism, as you've mentioned, happens across the board, especially for women. Um, I personally have suffered from it. Uh, had someone say that I was a kid. When I was 38 years old, like why, why would we believe you? You're just a kid. So this does happen. So for those leaders out there that are watching, you know, take what Bonnie has to say, take her research to heart and for the rest of you, thank you so much for joining us. And we will see you in the very next episode.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.