Webinar: Ageism, ableism and the coronavirus

Date: Thursday, 9 July 2020
Time: 2.00pm – 3.30pm BST (9.00am – 10.30am EDT)

Public and government response to the coronavirus has exposed the reality of age discrimination across the world.

Early into the pandemic, COVID-19 was presented as an older person’s issue, a factor which influenced a range of ageist responses from the media, politicians and the public. Ten days before the first UK lockdown, for example, higher mortality among older people from the virus had already resulted in 65,000 mentions of #BoomerRemover on Twitter.

During the pandemic, older people have been portrayed as a burden and “vulnerable”. Across the world, policymakers and public health experts have debated and introduced age- and “risk”-related “lockdowns”, which on the one hand were portrayed as protective, but on the other depicted many older people and disabled people as “vulnerable”. The coronavirus has highlighted the relationship between ageism and ableism.

In this webinar, speakers included:

  • Ashton Applewhite, Author
  • Heléna Herklots CBE, Older People’s Commissioner for Wales
  • Dr Mariska van der Horst, Assistant Professor, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Baroness Sally Greengross OBE, Chief Executive, ILC-UK

Chair: Dr Brian BeachSenior Research Fellow, ILC

During the discussion we explored:

  • The intersectionality between ageism and ableism in the context of the coronavirus;
  • How the way we think, feel and behave about older people has been exposed during the pandemic;
  • Whether ageism resulted in higher mortality among older and younger people;
  • Whether high death rates among older people were considered “inevitable”;
  • If age discrimination has impacted our perception of susceptibility to COVID-19 and whether this has driven health behaviours; and
  • Lessons for the future.

This webinar has been made possible through the ILC Partners Programme. Find out more about how you can work with us.

You can download the slides and view the recording of the webinar below.