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Intersections of gender, ethnicity and age: exploring the invisibility of older Punjabi women

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Abstract

Older Punjabi Sikh women are central to their families and communities, but their own needs are often overlooked. Probing the intersections of gender, ethnicity and age and interlocking experiences of sexism, racism and ageism within and beyond their own communities can deepen our understanding of why this happens and what we can do about it. Vertical hierarchies of women that develop in response to male domination, the gendered nature of women’s work and leisure activities, migration patterns that result in generational role reversals, unmet childcare needs, and sponsorship policies that engender dependency and promote isolation of older adults all play a role. These disparate threads are integrated through application of the intersectional life course lens, which recognises the importance of structural influences and oppressions on life course transitions over time and space.

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With few exceptions, studies have conceived of the glass ceiling as reflecting internal promotion biases. In this article, the authors argue that glass ceiling patterns can also be the result of external recruitment and hiring processes. Using data on people applying by means of the Internet for jobs at 441 small- and medium-sized high-tech firms, they find evidence that the glass ceiling is produced by both internal and external hiring processes. On the supply side, females are sorted into lower-level job queues than males. On the demand side, screening biases against women also are evident, but a series of “what if” simulations suggest that demand-side screening processes play a comparatively minor role in producing the glass ceiling pattern. These results suggest that bias remediation policies designed to equalize gender differences in hiring chances are likely to be less effective than recruitment and outreach policies designed to improve gender disparities in candidate pools.
Article
The health and well-being consequences of social isolation and loneliness in old age are increasingly being recognised. The purpose of this scoping review was to take stock of the available evidence and to highlight gaps and areas for future research. We searched nine databases for empirical papers investigating the impact of social isolation and/or loneliness on a range of health outcomes in old age. Our search, conducted between July and September 2013 yielded 11,736 articles, of which 128 items from 15 countries were included in the scoping review. Papers were reviewed, with a focus on the definitions and measurements of the two concepts, associations and causal mechanisms, differences across population groups and interventions. The evidence is largely US-focused, and loneliness is more researched than social isolation. A recent trend is the investigation of the comparative effects of social isolation and loneliness. Depression and cardiovascular health are the most often researched outcomes, followed by well-being. Almost all (but two) studies found a detrimental effect of isolation or loneliness on health. However, causal links and mechanisms are difficult to demonstrate, and further investigation is warranted. We found a paucity of research focusing on at-risk sub-groups and in the area of interventions. Future research should aim to better link the evidence on the risk factors for loneliness and social isolation and the evidence on their impact on health.
Article
The study examined the extent of change in attitude towards the role and status of women in samples representing three generations. Two constellations of attitudes were selected i.e.: gender role egalitarianism issues relevant to the Indian women. The sample (n=200) was drawn taking family as a unit belonging to three generations of sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, and grandfathers and grandmothers. The women demonstrated greater gender role egalitarianism regarding employment and social roles while men were more against the system of dowry and harassment of women; respondents in the younger generations were more nontraditional than those in the older generations; among the younger generations women were more nontraditional than men but among the older generations they are less nontraditional than men. The areas such as practice of dowry, women’s right to inheritance and violence against women were very resistant to attitudinal change. The findings implicate the need for corrective measures by way of practicing, advocating and teaching gender role egalitarianism to both men and women.
Article
When gender discrimination intersects with ageism in organisations, the resulting gendered ageism can take many forms. This paper explores through interviews the intersections of gender and age in the careers of senior level women managers in private companies and third sector organisation. Data illustrates the myriad ways of gendered ageism women managers encounter by men, but also sometimes by other women. Gendered ageism can take place at many stages of career development, and includes comments on women's roles, looks, sexual availability and potential to become pregnant and the menopause. However, women managers also enjoyed benefits of experience and seniority that came with ageing, including recognition of self-worth, increased control and empowerment.
Article
This article presents a study of the social, emotional and physical health lifestyle behaviours of a socially marginalised segment of Canada's population: retired, widowed, immigrant mothers from a South Asian country. Using a narrative research process, we explore how present physical, emotional and social health leisure activities are influenced by behaviours from their childhood, with emphasis on migration to Canada, retirement and widowing as lifestyle behavioural change points. Our sample of immigrant women were living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada during the time of the study. The study employed narrative inquiry, which is often used in migration studies. Our qualitative data analyses uncovered themes that linked present social health activities and early life behaviours and the influence on them of cultural constraints or stimulants. Three forms of sociocultural influences, gender segregation, patriarchal protection and early preparation for marriage, shaped adolescence and adult life as less physically active but more emotionally and socially healthy. Later life events, migration, retirement and widowing, enabled women to gain freedom to renegotiate and reconstruct late-life styles to be more physically and socially active through ethno-cultural social networks they had built after migration. The concluding discussion makes recommendations for health and social programme planning to draw attention to cultural realms that could help these women become physically active after migration without compromising traditional social behaviours.
Article
Although public and institutional policy states that the presence of family to provide care should not limit older people's access to public services, it does occur in practice. When family members are perceived as being able to contribute to the care of their elderly relatives, the frequency and duration of public sector support diminishes. This reality is particularly important to address with respect to ethnic elders where the perception and expectation of increased family involvement by public sector workers is commonplace. This article reports on the findings of a qualitative study addressing the experience of access among ethnic minority elderly women. It highlights the primary role of families in the discourse of home care and the resulting pressures this places on older ethnic women and their families. Suggestions for improving services are also mentioned.
Article
This paper reports on pilot study research for an ESF funded project. It examines the experiences and perceptions of 12 women in relation to the concept of ageism in paid employment. The women were all aged 50 or over at the time. The results show that whilst most of the women had faced (to differing degrees) or observed gender and age based discrimination, the experiences and interpretations revealed were not static, nor isolated from the wider historical, cultural and social contexts in which these women had grown up and grown older. It is therefore argued that policy attempts to combat age discrimination will need to take account of the gender dimension of ageism as well as the different ways in which it impacts on older women. For this to occur, more research and debate are needed on the issues raised in this paper.
Article
Gerontological inquiries into understandings of successful ageing have been culture-specific. This means that they have only been studied in the specific cultural settings that have given them their meaning. Understandings of successful ageing that are simultaneously influenced by two cultures have yet to be studied. This study is based on a newly-designed culturally-relevant theoretical framework for the study of successful ageing, and focuses on the context of migration where culture of origin and host culture meet. Interviews based on vignettes have been conducted with 30 Iranian immigrants in Sweden in order to reveal if, and how, the pre- and post-migration understandings of successful ageing differ. The findings show that cultural contexts determine how the construct in question is understood and that migration between different cultures can challenge these understandings.
Article
The aim of this research review was to portray the correlates of lifestyle physical activity (PA) behavior of healthy South Asian Indian (SAI) immigrants comprehensively by identifying, synthesizing, and critically analyzing the existing research literature. An integrative review methodology was used. The sample included 11 cross-sectional and 4 qualitative studies. The physical activity framework for SAI immigrants guided the development of data collection tools that included study measures of PA and background (current health, acculturation, discrimination, social support, environmental) and intrapersonal (motivation) correlates of PA. Regardless of the PA measure used, all studies reported low PA levels in at least 40% of the participants. The correlates of PA most often studied were sociodemographic variables, current health, and acculturation; female sex; poorer health; and less time since immigration. Few studies focused on social support, environmental factors, or included dynamic motivational factors. Increased knowledge of the factors that impact lifestyle PA is needed so that public health nurses can develop targeted interventions to increase the lifestyle PA of SAI immigrants at risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and central obesity.
Article
The purpose of the present study is to recover from selected Hindu and Buddhist texts ideas and images of aging and illumine their historical, semantic and metaphysical dimensions. The results of this endeavor indicate that as cultural adaptive systems, both religion and gerontology share a common concern in seeking to provide aging with purpose and meaning. Further, the internal logic and semantics expressing this relationship in the texts examined are governed by the formal and literary modes of simile, metaphor and myth. The analysis of such age-sensitive concepts as jara (aging), asrama (stages of life), kala (time), parinama (change), karma (determinate actions), kama (desire), and vaja (rejuvenatory and revitalizing force) suggest that the bond between the traditional Indian values of life and gerontology is particularly close and mutual.
Article
Key debates in social science and health research have centered on how to increase the inclusiveness of such research and hence its relevance for understanding the intersections of race, class, gender, and aging. This article uses gerontology as a case in point, examining the challenges of inclusivity and interlocking oppressions/intersectionality for better apprehending how broad structural factors shape and determine the experience of aging and growing old. The authors discuss alternative hypotheses being used to explore inequalities in the aging experience and the limitations of current concepts and methods. Promising new developments in sociology, epidemiology, and other fields are described in terms of their relevance for better understanding the dynamic interplay of race, class, gender, and aging.
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The Primacy of Family in Elder Care Discourse: Home Care Services to Older Ethnic Women in Canada
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Carstairs, S., and J. Keon. 2009. Special Senate Committee on Aging. Final Report: Canada's Aging Population: Seizing the Opportunity. Ottawa, ON: The Senate. http://www.parl.gc.ca/content/ sen/committee/402/agei/rep/agingfinalreport-e.pdf.
We're Not Just Canadian': Identity Negotiations of Canadian Sikh Women Living with Their in-Laws
  • Sanita Dhillon
Dhillon, Sanita. 2017. 'We're Not Just Canadian': Identity Negotiations of Canadian Sikh Women Living with Their in-Laws. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada: Royal Roads University. https:// viurrspace.ca/handle/10613/5094.
Canada's Immigration Policy: Compassion, Economic Necessity or Lifeboat Ethics
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Jodhka, Surinder S., and Aseem Prakash. 2016. The Indian Middle Class. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
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Koehn, Sharon. 1999. Fine Balance: Family, Food, and Faith in the Health-Worlds of Elderly Punjabi Hindu Women. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. ProQuest Information and Learning Company, 300 North Zeeb Road, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346, Telephone: 800-521-0600. Web site: www.umi.com/products. http://search.ebscohost.com/ login.aspx?direct=true&db=gnh&AN=900052&site=ehost-live.