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March 24, 2016

Workplace Age Discrimination Impacts Aging Women More than Aging Men, Study Reveals

Aging female job applicants may be the targets of employers’ age discrimination more often than aging male applicants, according to the findings of a recent study conducted by researchers at Tulane University and the University of California, Irvine.

This study1, published in October 2015, specifically focused on evaluating employers’ responses to thousands of fake job applications for both fictitious female and male applicants of various ages. While researchers were looking to evaluate the incidence (or prevalence) of age discrimination in general, they also reportedly uncovered “robust evidence of age discrimination in hiring against older women.”

Details of the Study

To better understand the nature of age discrimination in the hiring process of U.S. employers, researchers developed about 40,000 fake job applications and resumes for three different groups of male and female applicants, including:

  • A younger group, who were all younger than 32 years old
  • A middle-aged group, whose ages ranged from 49 to 51
  • An older group, who were 64 to 66 years old.

These fake applications were then used to apply to various job openings, including positions in administration, sales, janitorial services and the security industry. Upon analyzing the responses from employers, researchers reportedly found that:

  • Overall, employers’ response rates to middle-aged and older applicants were far lower than they were for younger applicants – Specifically, while employers were about 18 percent less likely to respond to middle-aged applicants, they were approximately 35 percent less likely to respond to older job applicants.
  • In certain industries and for certain occupations, employers seemed more likely to discriminate against older female applicants – Namely, for sales and administration positions, there seemed to be far more evidence of age discrimination against female applicants (than male applicants).

The Conclusions

Summing up the results of their analyses, researchers specifically concluded that:

For the occupations we study, there is unambiguous evidence of age discrimination for female job applicants, and this is true for both the middle-aged and older groups… We might, therefore, conclude that the really strong evidence from our study establishes that it is harder for older female workers to find jobs.

Some of the theories these researchers proposed to attempt to explain why older female job applicants tend to be the targets of age discrimination (more often than their male counterparts) included the following:

  • Current discrimination laws in the U.S. do not go far enough to protect aging women who may be the targets of both age and gender discrimination.
  • “Older women may, in fact, experience more discrimination than older men because physical appearance matters more for women… and because age detracts more from physical appearance for women than for men.”

What do you think about these findings regarding age discrimination against older female job applicants? Do you agree with researchers’ theories about why older women are more often subjected to this form of workplace discrimination? Tell us what you think on Facebook.

Contact a Los Angeles Age Discrimination Lawyer at the Azadian Law Group, PC

If you have been the target of age discrimination at work, contact a Los Angeles age discrimination lawyer at the Azadian Law Group, PC for a free case to review to find out more about your options for recovery and justice.

Call us at 626-449-4944 or send us an email via this contact form to set up an initial consultation with one of our lawyers. If you choose to move forward with us, you will not have to pay us any legal fees until or unless compensation is secured for your case.

From offices based in Pasadena, our attorneys provide exceptional legal service and representation to people throughout Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, San Diego County and the state of California.


1: Study entitled Is It Harder for Older Workers to Find Jobs?



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