I don’t usually blog about work.
But this is something that 24 hours ago I didn’t think about too much. Now I am outraged.
Yesterday I was at a meeting organised by NICCY (Commissioner for Children and Young People). It was about age discrimination, the effect of age discrimination, the stories from young people how they – just because they are under 18 – cannot access facilities and services.
There is the annoying stuff:
You start with young people being discriminated in shops: forced to leave school bags outside shops, hassled in and run out of shopping centres – or sometimes not allowed in, told to leave certain fast food restaurants, banned for no reason from arts and leisure centres (paid for through the rates and taxes) discriminated against by insurers, ignored by bus drivers. All stuff discussed at WIMPS and young people have told me about. And often it is the very shops where young people spend their money that they get most hassle. Not for what they are doing, but because they are young.
All of that is inconvenient, patronising, and rude. But people get away with it because they are young and there is nothing they can do.
But then it gets serious:
Patronised or not believed by doctors, hassled by the police, can’t get financial services – even if they are working – tenancy agreements, contracts of any sort (even if they are setting up their own home), getting utilities like electricity, phone, broadband, cable and satellite, etc etc. Then for even younger people, they can access (even via their parents) some educational services – it sometimes depends on the Board where they live – inconsistency of services). And this might seem odd to you and me who have had good relationships with out parents and children – but some young people have been abandoned by their parents before they are 18.
And it is all legal. There is no age anti-discriminatory legislation in Northern Ireland and NICCY wants to campaign to make sure that new European recommendations are not thrown out by OFMDFM and the Assembly.
Now don’t give me that nonsense – this would NOT mean an end to concessions for travel. It would NOT mean stopping 18 -30 holidays. It would NOT permit people under 18 buying tobacco or alcohol. The laws in place that determine booze and fags would not be compromised if there was age anti-discrimination legislation.
Personally and professionally I support what is the beginning of a campaign to introduce anti-age discrimination.
It is not just about young people
Anyone – yes anyone can be discriminated against because of their age. “You are too old – get out”, “No, you needn’t bother applying for that job, you are too old.”