Blog: A matter of social justice

Posted in: News on April 29, 2013

I attended a very successful event at Manchester Town Hall this week about ‘Ageing and austerity’ and there were a couple of things that really jumped out at me in relation to how we challenge the inequalities that still exist in our society.A representative from the TUC presented their report on ‘Older women and the labour market’ which made uncomfortable reading for those of us who thought that maybe that battle had been fought and won. Although ‘the gender pay gap is twice as large for women in their 50s as it is for women overall’, it is not only about rates of pay but that union reps found increasing levels of women aged 50+ being ‘managed’ out of work on health or competency grounds and that it is increasingly difficult for women aged 50 and over to get back into work.In his inspiring closing remarks Rodney Bickerstaffe referred to 25,000 older people dying needlessly each year because of the effects of cold weather. That’s 25,000 and it doesn’t happen in countries with a much colder climate than ours. It shouldn’t happen, in the same way that we shouldn’t have to be concerned about standards of care in hospitals or people being treated with dignity in care homes. It’s a matter of human rights and responsibilities.We don’t want these situations for ourselves or for the people we care for so how do we ensure that basic human rights are extended to everyone? It’s not simply about relying on a policy approach but a matter of showing solidarity with each other and reaching out to those in need.Lynne WealleansPositive Ageing Manager

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