Broken down by age and gender: "The problem of old women" redefined

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66 Citations (Scopus)


The last decade has seen the emergence of a feminist awareness of old age and, in particular, a growing awareness of what has come to be seen as "the problem of old women." Old women, it has been consistently demonstrated, are disadvantaged in a variety of ways in relation to old men. They are poorer, older, and sicker; they have less adequate housing and less access to private transport; they are more likely to experience widowhood, severe disability, and institutionalization. Taking "the problem of old women" as its starting point, this article argues for a less phallocentric analysis of women in old age, which is less reliant on men as a relational category to define the conditions, experiences, and resources of older women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-448
Number of pages16
JournalGender and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996
Externally publishedYes


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