Last month, AARP announced the results of its annual survey “Mirror/Mirror: Women’s Reflections on Beauty, Age and Media.” The study revealed that 60 percent of Asian American and Pacific Islander women age 50-plus experience discrimination “at least sometimes.”
Furthermore, AAPI women who experience discrimination regularly are subjected to it most frequently because of their race, ethnicity and/or skin tone (82 percent). Yet, close to half cited their accent as another top reason they feel discriminated against, followed by their age.
Not surprisingly, AAPI women who experience discrimination based on ethnicity/race/skin tone rated their current mental health lower than those who don’t.
AARP’s “Mirror/Mirror” survey also reflects the pressure working women feel to look or act a certain way. Among Asian American and Pacific Islander women 50-plus, 78 percent have felt pressured to look or act a certain way at work.
For these women, the most common types of pressure to act or behave a certain way at work include: 52 percent feel pressure to wear gender-appropriate clothing; 50 percent feel they should wear professional clothing and 48 percent feel pressured to wear age-appropriate clothing.
The survey revealed that while experiences of discrimination may vary, women who experience discrimination regularly adapt to it in similar ways.
“Being an Asian American and Pacific Islander woman has always been challenging due to the stereotypes we have had to endure … . In the workplace, women, including AAPI women, should not have to combat barriers like age, ethnicity or any other factor to get their work done, succeed and excel,” said Daphne Kwok, vp of Asian American & Pacific Islander Audience Strategy, Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.
The survey, key elements of which will appear in a digital and print content collaboration with Allure beginning with its June/July issue, also revealed that younger women are more likely to say that discrimination impacts their mental health.
However, age discrimination impacts women of all ages and ethnic backgrounds.