Marlene Krasovitsky is the Co-Chair and Director of EveryAGE Counts with The Benevolent Society (TBS). Prior to this role, Marlene was the Director of Willing to Work, the National Inquiry into Employment Discrimination Against Older Australians and Australians with Disability with the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC). This Inquiry was led by The Hon. Susan Ryan AO, former Age and Disability Discrimination Commissioner.
Marlene was formerly Research Director with the AHRC’s Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force, and subsequent Cultural Reform Program, supporting Elizabeth Broderick AO, former Sex Discrimination Commissioner.
Marlene has worked in Commonwealth and State Government in a range of executive, policy and operational roles. She was recently awarded her PhD from the University of Sydney, with a thesis on Royal Commissions. She has an Executive Masters of Public Administration (ANZSOG), a Masters of Business Administration (University of Technology, Sydney) and is a registered psychologist.
Building a grassroots movement to end ageism
Marlene Krasovitsky, The Benevolent Society, Australia
This presentation intended for advocates, practitioners, policy makers and researchers interested in engaging community at the heart of social change will outline the underlying research and practice of building and supporting a grassroots movement to end ageism in Australia.
Ageism against older people is stereotyping, discrimination and mistreatment based solely upon age. It comes from widespread social acceptance of negative attitudes and beliefs about the value of older people and later life. According to the World Health Organisation, ‘Ageism has serious and far-reaching consequences for people’s health, well-being and human rights… ageism is associated with a shorter lifespan, poorer physical and mental health, slower recovery from disability and cognitive decline’.
The critical role of older people in combatting ageism includes:
- Providing counter-information and opportunities for people to reflect on their internalised ageism
- Provide opportunities for older Australians to use their voice to challenge stereotypes and assumptions about what older people can and cannot do.
Spearheaded by The Benevolent Society, the EveryAGE Counts Campaign aims to support the role of older Australians in positively changing community attitudes about ageing and older age. This presentation will outline our approach including:
- Actions to build awareness of ageism amongst a target audience and recruit supporters;
- Ongoing engagement and community building amongst supporters;
- ‘Reframing’ methodology, and equipping our supporters with the tools to change how we think and speak about ageing and older people;
- Identifying ‘key advocates’ through these activities to develop as an ‘inner circle’ for campaign design and strategy.
The EveryAGE Counts campaign draws on diverse fields of research to build the supporting infrastructure for the leadership of older people in a grassroots movement to end ageism in their communities. This research includes:
- How internalised negative perceptions of ageing and being older drives ageist attitudes, behaviour and social norms.
- The role of language and framing in reinforcing negative social norms about ageing and older age, and how reframing of language can be used as a tool to challenge the drivers of ageism.
- Applying current practice in marketing and strategic communications to addressing social attitudes and norms, including the development of audience personas and communications targeting to reach potential activists.
- Applying current practice in community organising and social movements to identify activists and provide them with the tools and resources they need to influence social attitudes and norms within their own communities and spheres of influence.
On the basis of this research, a model of identifying, recruiting and training campaign supporters to play a major part in the campaign to end ageism by changing attitudes amongst their own communities will be presented.