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Women at their best age struggle to find a job

In English

07.05.2024

A woman’s age seems to be a constant cause of discrimination in recruitment – whether the woman is young or middle-aged. The law demands equality, but this is not always achieved.

Heidi Lehtovaara is studying the recruitment skills of companies in a project coordinated byTampere University, and anonymous recruitment is one part of the project. She has come across several cases where gender equality is not realised in recruitment. In particular, discrimination against women is common.

It is not appropriate to ask about private or sensitive matters, such as family relationships or the number of children a woman has, as the information obtained from the responses must not influence recruitment decisions.

“However, young women often feel that they are asked about their family plans during job interviews, for example,” says Lehtovaara.

Justice and help would be available from the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman, but many do not seek help in fear of becoming labelled.

On social media channels, some job seekers are bringing outrageous cases to light, but many fall silent. Lehtovaara has thought about how an applicant might avoid an inappropriate question during an interview without being profiled as a difficult employee and losing out on being hired.

“I have studied the experiences of highly educated women with immigrant backgrounds, and none of them have raised any questions or complained about issues that in their opinion violate the law,” says Lehtovaara.

Justice and help would be available from the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman, but many do not seek help in fear of becoming labelled.

Women experience a lot of age discrimination after the age of fifty, but being young can also be viewed as a disadvantage.

The age of female job applicants also seems to cause difficulties in recruitment, as research shows that people over the age of fifty also experience discrimination. In fact, it seems like there is no perfect age for a woman when it comes to job seeking.

“Women experience a lot of age discrimination after the age of fifty, but being young can also be viewed as a disadvantage,” says Lehtovaara.

We all have prejudice, but once we become aware of them, we can do things differently.

According to Lehtovaara, anonymous recruitment is not always enough to prevent age discrimination against women, because the truth is revealed in the interview. She recommends that employers use structured interview questions and find out what they are allowed and not allowed to ask by law.

The same applies to the prevention of all forms of discrimination in recruitment – whether on the basis of age, gender, ethnic background or, for instance, sexual orientation.

“The best candidate should be selected for a job, not the one who is the same as me. We all have prejudice, but once we become aware of them, we can do things differently.”

 

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