Communicating for social change: Is age really just a number?

Marital rape? Racism? Ageism? Undoubtedly, a vast number of social issues require immediate social action and yet we barely scratched the surface during our group brainstorm.  Among all, we found greatest inclination towards ageism in the workplace– a topic we found perfect for advocacy in Singapore.

Shedding light on the global ageism phenomenon

Ageism Towards Older People (Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqhEEAgyKZk) 

Ageism is a pervasive prejudice in many societies and Singapore is no exception. Halimah Yacob once noted Singapore’s ageist attitude towards senior roles and that many are unaware of their own inherent bias. The situation is more pressing now. Retrenched older PMETs make up 71% of those unemployed (Seow, 2016) and ministers such as Tharman Shanmugaratnam are now making the call to tackle the “quiet, unstated discrimination among the mid-careers and those in their 50s.”

ageist1

Current initiatives are limited as they place the onus heavily on the will of individuals and organisations. Individuals are encouraged to take skills upgrading courses through SkillsFuture. Employers are encouraged to abide by government regulations such as Retirement and Re-employment Act but the impact has not been organically felt in the organisations. Publics should put aside their entrenched mindset and adopt a mindset that equal opportunities should be given regardless of age. In Communicating Social Change, Prof Mohan argues that social change is built upon the “primary idea that social change reflects some form of change in the traditional forms of organizing and conceptualizing organizational processes.” (Dutta, 2011). Social change can only be effectively triggered with efforts driven at eradicating deeply entrenched beliefs.

Shedding light on the state of older workers in Singapore context

Old workers in Singapore (Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiMMjtGHoJ0)

Social Media Audits stated, “Remember, if you do not participate (in social media), you are out of sight, and out of sight is out of mind. Only participating members gain visibility.”(Gattiker, U.E, 2014) Till date, there has been no social media strategies aimed at enhancing more positive attitudes towards older workers and social media might just be the way to reach out to more and effect social change.

 

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