These suggestions are terrific. But they’re band-aids. We’re not going to stop discrimination on the basis of age in Silicon Valley — or anywhere else — without fundamental social change. Can you imagine someone complacently identifying himself as a sexist or homophobe? Being an ageist is every bit as reprehensible. We need to stop giving ageism a pass, individually and collectively. That’s a tall order, but think about how far the gay rights movement has come in a single decade, and how fast gender and racial diversity have become aspirational principles.
Change requires awareness. It begins when we examine the attitudes we’ve internalized towards age and aging. Only then can we step off the treadmill of denial and proudly own our age and our accomplishments, as you urge older workers to do. Only then can we begin to see how ageism segregates and diminishes us, and mobilize against it.
Tech may be the most ageist of industries, but thanks to thought leaders like you, Silicon Valley is ahead of the curve — true to form — in promoting this discussion. To consider your own bias, download Who Me, Ageist? To raise awareness of ageism in your group or company, invite me to speak.