By Dr. Vânia de la Fuente-Núñez, Technical Officer, World Health Organization

The Global Campaign to Combat Ageism will give focused attention to ageism as it affects different age groups from 1 October (International Day of Older Persons) to 20 November 2021 (World Children’s Day). 

This initiative is called Ageism through the ages and it will build on the momentum generated by the launch of the first UN Global report on ageism, featuring relevant content on ageism on the Platform of the Decade of Healthy Ageing, and drawing attention to this issue through events and across social media platforms to reach the broadest possible audience to create #AWorld4AllAges. 

During this month and a half, content related to ageism will be released on the Platform and on social media platforms following the life-course, giving initial focus to ageism as it affects older people at the beginning of October and moving the focus progressively towards ageism as it affects younger people and children. 

Why a sustained theme on ageism?

Ageism is present in the way we think, feel and act towards others and ourselves based on age, whether we are conscious of it or not. It is everywhere: in our institutions, relationships, and ourselves. We know today that half the world’s population is ageist towards older people and, in Europe, younger people report more ageism than other age groups. 

Ageism harms us individually and collectively, affecting our health and well-being when we’re older and costing society billions of dollars. Fortunately, ageism can be combatted through policy and law, educational activities, and intergenerational interventions, but collective action is needed to raise awareness and address this issue. 

Giving focused attention to ageism in this way provides an invitation to take action to challenge ageism. Ageism through the ages will showcase how this insidious phenomenon affects us through our lifetime, encourage the engagement of different stakeholders in the campaign, and build a movement to change the narrative around age and aging. The main objectives are to:

  • Give visibility to the experiences of ageism of older and younger people from around the world 
  • Raise awareness of the magnitude and impact of ageism 
  • Establish a community of advocates to change the narrative around age and ageing
  • Share resources and tools on ageism

Sharing your voice and experience

Ageism through the ages offers the opportunity to share your voice and work on ageism through the Platform. Input will be collected through a special call for submissions that closes on Friday 17 September 2021. All contributions will be reviewed to be featured throughout the duration of Ageism through the ages, starting 1 October.

The call is available in EnglishFrench, and Spanish, and contributions are accepted in all three languages. We look forward to hearing from you!

Relevant resources

  • Global report on ageism: this report provides a framework for action to reduce ageism including specific recommendations for different actors (e.g. government, UN agencies, civil society organizations, private sector). It brings together the best available evidence on the nature and magnitude of ageism, its determinants and its impact. It outlines what strategies work to prevent and counter ageism, identifies gaps and proposes future lines of research to improve our understanding of ageism. The full report is available in English and the executive summary is available in ArabicChineseEnglishFrenchPortugueseRussian, and Spanish
  • Toolkit of the Global campaign to combat ageism: this toolkit available in EnglishFrench and Spanish will equip you with the necessary resources to learn about ageism, initiate your own conversations about this important topic in your community, organize events to raise awareness, and spread the word through social media to create #AWorld4AllAges.
Dr Vânia de la Fuente-Núñez