Women don’t ‘lose value as they age,’ says business coach

New research has found that more Australians than ever are approaching retirement age, revealing that 415,000 Aussies are planning to retire in the next 12 months, substantially more than in 2008, when it was 327,000.

In line with this – a study by economists at the University of California at Irvine and Tulane University found “robust evidence of age discrimination in hiring against older women”, showing that it is harder for older women to find jobs than it is for older men.

The Retiree had a chat with IT Executive and Joy of Business Coach Laurence Favier, who is urging people to reject the notion that women “lose value as they age”, and is leading the charge to empower women to embrace new business opportunities as entrepreneurs in later life and retirement.

Firstly, tell us a little bit about yourself.
 I am a 56-year-old French women, married with two daughters who live on their own. I am a half-time director for Orange Group on the social responsibility side of the company managing a team of 24 people.
Orange is a great telecommunication company in France. Just before that I was a project manager in IT security. I am also a certified facilitator for Access Consciousness, Joy of Business and Being You Adventures. This part of my life expands every day and I am so grateful for that!

Why do you think older women are finding it harder to find jobs than older men? 
Because there is an old stereotype regarding women who can stay at home while their husband goes out to earn money for the family.
Older women’s mothers hold this for a long time and encourage their daughters to stay at home and let their place at work to men and to younger people especially when work has to be shared.
How can older women combat this? 
In some cases they have to combat their mothers and prove again and again they are able to be as efficient as men. Fortunately, old mothers are aware of the new stakes for women.
My mother-in-law (85 years old) is proud of me and my continuous search for a better life even if she has these interesting points of view that I am going to be exhausted, that I have to let my chair for younger people who need to work, that it’s time for me to rest and stay at home, and to take care of my husband – who is her son!
Does retirement need to mean never working again?
For some people, retirement means staying at home and watching TV all day long. On the opposite I think it’s a new phase of life where you can choose to do what you desire.
Of course you can choose to stay at home and do nothing. You can also choose to do what makes you vibrate. It can be looking after your grandchildren, gardening, meeting other retired people and do activities with them.
What is important is to have choice and to choose for you, not through the eyes of your circles advice. And live your life for you, not through your children’s life.
Can you share your retirement story, and how you approached it? 
I still have one more year working for Orange. When I discovered Access Consciousness and these amazing tools three years ago I knew my life was going to change. And it did.
I created my own activity and started a business. I got a new more interesting job and I decreased my work time for Orange.
For the moment I work half-time on both sides. Actually I increase every day my commitment to my new “job” and my new life! It’s so joyful to discover more about me and about what I am able to create.
Do you think retirement age is the best age to start a business?
In the 2010s, retirement for women is the best age to finally choose what they desire to do. Why not a business?
At this period of life older women are less committed to their children who have left the family nest. It’s time for these women to ask themselves what they’d like to do.
Some of them go on with habits and stay at home looking after their house garden and grand children. Some others like me realize that something different is possible and look forward new activities for them.
Starting a business is a great way to become totally independent and to have your own projects. I just wish to younger women to be aware that they have no need to follow outdated stereotypes and can always choose what is good for them.
How can we value older women, and why is it so important? 
Women bring new habits in their couple, in their family, at work. They are the novelty agent. Older women have the experience and the skills. Their life is full of changes regarding technology, emancipation of women, independence, working outside home and growing their children up.
These old women are a great treasure for younger women and could become their model or at least a foundation to create from. So what would it take for older women to transmit their skills to young generation through a business or inside their companies?
The glass ceiling is a huge stereotype for women. Older women have experienced it and could help younger women by sharing their experience.
Do you have any tips for women wanting to get back into the workforce? 
At first, it’s important to discover what is the thing you adore to do. You know, the one you can do without taking care of time, without eating and drinking. This could also be something you decided to do when you were a child but have not yet actualized.
Is it time now? The idea is to have a job dealing with what you love to do. And what would it take to create your own business or to create your own job? And what about having fun at the same time? In a second side, you could consider your previous job if it is the case.
Are you updated with an eventual change in it? Would you love to have this kind of job again? So what about calling your previous boss or companies in this field? Feel free to contact your network. It’s a great way to spread the idea that you are willing to be back into the workforce.
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Alana Lowes
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