EOC Media Releases

Snapshot shows impact of discrimination among WA's seniors

by EOC | Nov 13, 2018

The Equal Opportunity Commission’s Age is not a use by date: A snapshot of the experiences of discrimination among Western Australia’s seniors finds older women increasingly vulnerable in WA.

 The snapshot, released during Senior’s Week, documents the findings of consultations with seniors’ representative organisations and a state-wide survey of Western Australians over the age of 55.

 Acting WA Equal Opportunity Commissioner Dr Byrne said seniors and seniors’ organisations both reported greater impact on seniors where age discrimination intersected with other types of discrimination, such as race, sex and impairment.

 “Mature aged women seem particularly vulnerable in their post working life due to not having accumulated sufficient superannuation or assets to support themselves.

 “According to COTA and Advocare Inc, women seniors were the fastest growing group to become homeless,” he said.

 Dr Byrne said the Commission compiled the snapshot to better understand how discrimination impacts on people living in WA over the age of 55, so it could focus on those issues in its community education and outreach work.

 “We know discrimination occurs against older people from our enquiries line and engaging people through our regular community outreach programs; however generally this group is less likely to lodge a formal complaint.”

 Dr Byrne said part of the reason for this was that the onus of proof was on the complainant.

 “Many seniors reported they felt ignored or ‘invisible’ at work and when receiving goods and services, and it is very hard to prove this is because of their age,” he said.

 However, Dr Byrne said there had been instances where age discrimination had been quite overt and easy for the complainant to prove.

 “In our 2017-18 Annual Report we documented an age discrimination complaint where the complainant alleged his supervisor referred to him as ‘useless’, ‘senile’ and ‘old’ and had suggested he would get rid of him,” he said.

 The snapshot is available on the Commission’s website



Communications Officer Sarah Johnston

(08) 9216 3900 mob 0409 137 843

Level 2, 141 St Georges Terrace, Western Australia 6000

Tel: (08) 9216 3900 –Fax: (08) 9216 3960

Email: eoc@eoc.wa.gov.au  Website www.eoc.wa.gov.au