Older women play an important role in providing care in our society, and there is a growing group of older women who are demonstrating leadership and being active in their local communities. Elena Bendien and Tineke Abma argue that traditional images of older women as caretakers limit women’s opportunities to give meaning to their own lifes. Even if women are given equal rights, the persistent image can limit women. We need to stop thinking of older women as grandmothers, informal caregivers, or nannies for the grandchildren. We need alternative roles and images to inspire new generations and create a much richer range of roles to suit the talents, creativity and aspirations of older women.
“We’re not just old women volunteering invisibly. I want people to see what we’re doing and what we can still do. I want people to understand the kind of power we represent.” Susan, age 67
Bendien and Abma wrote a chapter about it for the book Older Women in Europe – A Human Rights-Based Approach by Isabella Paoletti, about the strength, freedom, tenacity, determination, resilience, independence, social and political involvement of older women. The authors who contributed to this publication ask that space be made for the elderly and elderly women in particular. How will society tackle discrimination based on age and gender? How should work situations change to support older workers and older women in particular? How should the pension system change? The book takes a human rights-based approach and provides valuable insights for a wide range of human rights activists, professionals, policymakers and social scientists.