Can Baby Boomers Clinton and Trump Change Negative Views on Aging? / by marilyn salenger

Presumptive presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump share two distinctly non-political titles by category. Baby Boomer and Senior Citizen. We don't think of referring to them that way, because it hasn't become a job performance issue in this race. Hillary is 68 years old and Trump recently turned 70. Their vitality is self evident.  If this campaign says anything about age, whether it be Clinton, Trump or Bernie Sanders, few have not marveled at the stamina they've shown during a grueling primary season. Forget for a moment the politics involved, as hard as that might be, these candidates unintentionally are positioned to become role models for a greater senior work force that needs to be valued, emboldened and increased.

Each day 10,000 Baby Boomers are projected to reach the age of 65. Yet the prejudice of age discrimination lurks behind too many corners of this generation's life. Especially if you are a woman. Ageism and sexism unfortunately go hand in hand, and both are rampant.

If Hillary Clinton is elected President of the United States, she will not only break the glass ceiling of that office, but will help break another employment barrier that millions of women face every day. Age. Clinton would be 69 years old at the time of her Inauguration, the same age as Ronald Reagan. Most women can't get a job of any kind at her age, no matter how qualified they are or how hard they work for it. And prior to Donald Trump entering the race, Republicans tried to raise the 'age issue' against Clinton.

Whether by desire or need, more women over 55 are confronted with employers who only see value in youth. If they're able to find jobs, it's often for less pay. While senior men also face discrimination, they have an easier time finding more jobs at higher pay scale. A report by the National Bureau of Economic Research puts it succinctly: "For women, age discrimination starts earlier and never relents." 

Heads up Business America. Age discrimination has been illegal since 1967. It needs to end. Our next senior President will have an opportunity to focus on the issue if she/he chooses, and actually view it as an equality that can no longer be ignored. The political lift needed seems small compared to the economic impact of millions of unemployed Boomers who also vote. Our workplaces need to be age mixed and open to all who are qualified. Just like our White House.