Has the Sisterhood forgotten older women?

Mar 8, 2013 | REPORTS

A Compendium of Essays highlighting the challenges and opportunities of ageing for women, launched in celebration of International Women’s Day 2013.

While it is widely acknowledged that the world is ageing, the intersection of age with gender has been historically ignored. As men and women age, they share many of the same needs. Nevertheless it is acknowledged that in many parts of the world, older women are not only subject to specific challenges, but also critically, make significant contributions to their family, communities and wider society that are often overlooked. Furthermore it has been recently argued feminism has tended to neglect the subject of older women and has been more focused on advancing the rights of younger women. Some commentators have argued that we are witnessing a ‘feminist generational divide’, with older women either at best ignored or at worst pitched against the younger generation.

This collection draws together 38 essays penned by a variety of high profile authors, including politicians, policy-makers, academics and campaigners. The essays debate the opportunities and challenges for older women at the national and global level, exploring diverse subjects including:

  • Finances
  • Work
  • Social isolation and loneliness
  • Care and carers
  • Health and wellbeing
  • International development.

Despite the differences in the aspirations, experiences and reflections of the authors, these essays are arguably united by a widespread dissatisfaction with the status quo. The Compendium constitutes a timely ‘stocktake’ of the situation for older women within the wider feminist movement. It asks how far we need to travel to advance the cause of older women, providing a platform for future action and development.

In response to the evident need for more work in this area, ILC-UK are establishing an Older Women’s Policy and Research Action Alliance to create a roadmap for future research and policy priorities. If you would be interested in being involved in this Action Alliance, please contact info@ilcuk.org.uk.