Opið samtal | Ageism in the Icelandic society

How old are you? Have you heard that you are too young to understand, too old to be able to do things or not old enough to join? Who determines the age limit and on what grounds? Have you experienced rejection or prejudice because of your age?

These are among the questions discussed recently in an open concersation - Opið samtal - on age and ageism at The Reykjavík City Library Grófin, downtown. We also looked at how we work against ageism and create a society that opens up new opportunities, regardless of age.

Ten women with various backgrounds participated in the conversation, both individuals and representatives of companies, associations and institutions. Among others from VIRK, The Vocational rehabilitation process and Hoopla Ísland, which helps companies find experts, as well as Rebekka A. Ingimundardóttir, a performing artist and Þórey Sigþórsdóttir, an actress and a vocal coach.

Rebekka and Þórey recently wrote and performed the play Ég lifi enn – true story, in Tjarnarbíó theatre. The idea for the play was the health system's cold attitude towards older people, which they consider to be a clear manifestation of ageism. The show's script was written based on the experiences they gathered.

People who took part in the conversation had similar stories to tell, that senior citizens are too often not participants in the society and therefore it's important to point out e.g. to companies that people who have reached middle age usually still want to work, but sometimes prefer to reduce both percentage and responsibility, and they still want to learn something new. Sometimes, however, it’s the individuals themselves, i.e. age prejudices against themselves. Self-confidence is very important and curiosity is the driving force in living life. Also in the so-called third phase of life, it is no less important to continue learning, expanding yourself and even make old dreams come true.

In the open conversation the importance of building bridges between generations was also discussed, that each generation has its own beauty and challenges, and therefore it’s important to share experiences and ideas and be creative in how we react. When asked what would be a good platform to bridge the gap between generations and even cultures, most agreed that cooking and eating together would be a good platform for people to connect across ages.

Arnhildur Hálfdánardóttir from Samfélagið on Rás 1 (The National Radio) joined the conversation at the Library. Here you can listen to the radioprogram on the subject on February 29th 2024.

What is Opið samtal?  
An open conversation platfrom at Reykjavík City Library is a neutral platform where the gap between individuals, organizations and institutions is bridged. Opið samtal aims to discuss burning issues on a peer-to-peer basis, with the aim of finding the solutions collectively, figure out who to approach an issue with  and for different views to be heard.  

For further information:
Dögg Sigmarsdóttir 
Project manager | Civic Participation 

UpdatedFriday April 12th 2024, 10:28