CELEBRATING WINS FOR WOMEN AGED 45+ DURING 2021
Because, very slowly, society is beginning to see our value…...
Hello there, dear readers
Welcome to the final issue of 2021. I hope this issue finds you safe & well and you have managed to enjoy a restful and joyful Christmas break. Thank you for continuing to come back to the newsletter each time, and if this is your first time, then a double welcome to you.
In this issue, I’ve decided to focus on the small bit of positivity there has been for our age group. And, truthfully, there has been a little, in some small part.
In the midst of this debacle of a year (not quite 2020 standards, but bad enough) during 2021 there have been a smidgen of small positive steps where women in our age range are very gradually beginning to be noticed. And recognised. And valued.
1. Recognition and acceptance of menopause
The first I can think of refers to menopause - on two count. Firstly, it took a bit of “gobby-ness” by Davina McCall, but by her being honest and open about her symptoms and her struggle in dealing with it in the media, at the very least it brought it into the social conscious. I suppose most readers have seen her documentary - Sex, Myths and the Menopause and it all helps to make a dent into the social conciousness that women at this stage in life should scuttle away and live in a dark corner until they come out the other side. So, I thank Davina for that. And following on from Davina being open about her struggles, over the course of the year other women celebs have also opened up about their menopause struggles. Broadcasters Jo Whiley and Mariella Fostrup and actress Tamzin Outhwaite have also discussed their problems along with their usage of HRT. Over time, I think there will be more women celebs of a certain age joining the party :)
Secondly, is that a mid-life MP from Swansea East, Carolyn Harris, has managed to get a bill through it’s first reading in the House of Commons that would mean that women prescribed HRT would only pay a one time charge per year for their prescription, rather than the £9.35 per item that is currently in force. However, this is early days and it could be at least a year before the bill comes in operation, but at least it’s heading in the right direction.
2. Being recognised as viable entrepreneurs and business owners
One of the most positive things I did this year was to take part in a survey the University of Leeds. The research project was looking at people over 50 who start a business, and I’ll leave it to the authors of the research, Dr Shelley Harrington and Dr Alex Kevill, to explain the why and wherefore:
“In the context of the UK’s ageing population, many individuals are now deciding to start a business over the age of 50. This can be for a variety of reasons such as identifying an entrepreneurial opportunity, fulfilling a long-held ambition, as a bridge to retirement, or due to necessity. This phenomenon has attracted important policy attention, particularly due to the economic benefits that can be realised from it. Research attention has also been devoted to this area, with particular attention being given to the motivations and intentions underpinning their decisions to start up a business. Our research project seeks to build on this work by investigating the experiences of over 50’s who start a business, with particular focus on their well-being and successful aging. This will provide in-depth understanding, helping to inform future research and tailor policy interventions to support them.”
So basically, University of Leeds is undertaking a major research project aimed at looking into the reasons why people over 50 start businesses, the problems they face (ageism being a major one, I should think) and then providing the data and report to hopefully influence the policy-makers in the future.
Isn’t it totally heartening that academia is working towards getting us seen, heard and understood. My thanks go to Dr Shelley and Dr Alex, the authors of the project, and if you are a business owner who started their business aged 50 and over, then Alex would love to include you in the study and you can contact him on email@example.com. I have to say, it was one of the more pleasant hours I’ve spent this year, talking to the authors, who thoroughly understood the problems mid-life business owners face.
3. The sea-change of acceptance on Social Media
Now, this idea is purely a personal opinion. Unlike me, I’m publishing something where I don’t have the science/data to back it up, but I have very definitely seen an upswing in discussion and acceptance of women aged 45/50 and above on social media (particularly Twitter and Instagram) and these accounts are gradually building followers and often the hashtags they set, can often “trend” on these two platforms.
Now, again, if anyone knows how news gathering works currently, journalists and editors rely a lot on scanning all the social media channels for their story ideas (again predominantly Twitter and Instagram), so in my basic fathoming, if all these wonderful accounts are gaining traction, then the journos and editors have to include some of the inspirational stories covered on these threads. And ultimately more stories in the media about how wonderful mid-life women still are.
So, there you go - traction and publicity in the media for the women and issues of those aged 45+. So, if you want to add your weight to the burgeoning throng of flag wavers on social, you could do a lot worse than adding your voice and following me at my 45NotOut accounts - Twitter & Instagram.
That’s a wrap from me
Although 2021 may not have lived up to the expectations we had for it, it’s heartening to see that some very gradual shoots of recognition are beginning to appear to change the way women of our age are viewed. And those shoots are very likely to turn into full grown trees. Well, in time, maybe.
And for this reason, I’ve not included the usual “Dollop of Positivity” item because, hopefully, the whole newsletter is a dollop of positivity :) But I’ll be bringing the section back in the next newsletter.
As we stand on the threshold of 2022, I wish a much better year for all us and that we start to crush this insidious virus that affects so many aspects of life, not to mention the unnecessary deaths.
I hope you stay safe, well and strong. And if you know any sassy women over 45 who might welcome a newsletter like this, then share the love. The more amazing women we have, the more our voice can be heard. There’s power in numbers. You can share it here:
Till a fortnights time