Sunday, November 28, 2010
"Just Another Step in Life"
Much more material has been written discussing men’s, compared to women’s, experiences of retirement. For a long time, particularly in my generation, it was assumed that only men retired while women stayed home and took care of domestic life. We are now facing some dramatic changes.
More recent research indicates that professional women, like many men, feel like they are sacrificing their professional identity and when they retire are sad about their loss of professional challenges. And there are some consequences that are more specific to women. For instance they are more likely to have less economic stability due to earning lower salaries and moving in and out of the workforce; most frequently to take care of family matters.
All things considered, most women retirees see their retirement as “just another step in life” similar to other life transitions they have experienced. The research on this topic, reported in this blog entry, has been carried out qualitatively. One woman reported: “
“For me retirement was not difficult. Someone asked me if I missed it. I said “for about 30 minutes”. I remember going to pack up my stuff and I told the girls in the office I would be back in Monday but I knew all the time that I would not because I didn’t want any tears around me and so I went on myself, over that weekend and vacated the office. I was sad too, in a way, because you know, it’s a kind of defining moment in your life when you move out of what has been your life’s work”
Retired women, like men, also face a society fraught with ageist stereotypes. Another retired woman said:
“You get a awful lot of reference to age. I mean, that’s what you get after you’ve retired. Whether it’s your physician making a reference to your age or it’s someone that’s meeting you and saying to you ‘At your age you…. you’re doing this? At your age!’ What does age have to do with it?”
1. Much of the information cited in this blog entry was taken from Christine Price’s. article Women and retirement: Relinquishing Professional Identity.