Ageism and Intersectionality: Older Persons as Members of Other Vulnerable Groups
A. Gutterman, Ageism and Intersectionality: Older Persons as Members of Other Vulnerable Groups (Oakland CA: Older Persons' Rights Project, 2022)
108 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2021 Last revised: 24 Feb 2022
Date Written: February 22, 2022
Subgroups of older persons benefit from the protection included in human rights instruments that have been created to address the rights of vulnerable groups of which an older person is a member; however, it has been argued by the proponents of a new international human rights instrument devoted to the human rights of older persons that it is necessary to recognize and address the distinctive challenges faced by all members of that group including discrimination, poverty caused by various age-related factors and violence and abuse, and ensure the guarantee of rights of older persons in relation to their physical and mental health. While recognition of the specific human rights of older persons is laudable, albeit very difficult to achieve in practice, it is not as simple as that. In fact, “older persons” are a heterogeneous group spanning a range of chronological ages and socio-economic contexts and including members who are simultaneously exposed to the challenges faced by other vulnerable groups based on gender, race and disabled status. As such, there is room for the use of a tool that has come to be called “intersectionality”, which takes into account that an individual’s identity has many dimensions that do not exist in isolation and work collectively to affect individual experiences and behaviors in relation to inequality, injustice, exploitation, and oppression. This chapter begins with a brief overview of intersectionality and then turns to a series of discussions about members of the larger group of older persons in their dual roles as members of other vulnerable groups defined by dimensions such as gender, disability, race and ethnicity, indigenous status, socioeconomic status, immigrant status and sexual orientation and gender identity.
Keywords: ageism, racism, classicism, intersectionality, ableism, sexism
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