As females age more quickly than men, women have been observed to endure societal disparities. Studies and research have been conducted over the years to better understand the difficulties and problems related to aging. Gerontology is the specialized study of elderly people and how they age. The post addresses some of the debates surrounding the aging process of women (Rosenthal, 2014).
It is asserted that feminism and gerontology both play a part in developing social consciousness, social ideas, and social policies to enhance the standard of living and provide opportunities for a better life for the disadvantaged population. Aging has been described as a feminist issue since women outlive men and are the majority of the older adults. The approach initiated by feminist seeks to validate and illuminate on the issue and experiences of older women and their caregivers. Feminist theoretical opinions regarding old age include the social construction of gender, oppression of women within their families and in the workplace, varying experiences for women in their age, sexual orientation, race, social class, and ethnicity. The interrelation of public policies and private lives and gender justice are implied within feminism for the benefit of both men and women (Garner, 2014).
Aging and sex are defined by social construction and the stability of social relationships. The feminist approach regards the existence of gender construction by the society, which defines the role of women in the family, and works structure and affects gender equity for older women. Negative economic repercussions for women in old age are associated with their family obligations that limit their ability to participate in paid labor workforce during their productive years. Restriction or limitation on the opportunity to have an income makes the life of older women particularly difficult in access of healthcare and caregivers for support.
Social Construction of Gender
Gender has been defined as a social organization of sexual differences through socially construed opinions about the roles, actions, or behaviors expected to be performed by a particular sex. Gender is socially construed to have better understanding and definition of men and women in their roles, assigned entitlements and rights, the values assigned to each gender and their characteristics. Socialization of gender either occurs at home or in institutions and other secondary agents such as religious institutions, nations, schools, peer groups where differences in roles are experienced. Discourses at both primary and secondary level, such as allocation of toys or colors based on gender, enforcement of particular characters, varying expectations for boys and girls at home and in the academic field and the institutional separation of boys and girls enhance gender differentiation. Children adopt and maintain their gender identities based on the experience acquired from an early age through socialization (Giddens et al., 2016).
How the Topic Relates to Women and Aging
Women have been said to outlive their male counterparts, which makes the issues associated with aging have a more significant impact on women. Older women make a significant contribution to the society and have the opportunity to lead better lives during their retirement. However, many face challenges varying from financial security, availability of caregivers for assistance and accessing healthcare. Gerontology is crucial as it involves studying the issues that contribute to the abuse of the elderly and facilitates in establishing policies towards attaining better health outcomes and assists in acquisition or maintenance of positions in employment for their improved financial security.
Garner, J. D. (2014). Fundamentals of feminist gerontology. London: Routledge.
Giddens, A., Duneier, M., Appelbaum, R. P., & Carr, D. S. (2016). Introduction to sociology. WW Norton.
Rosenthal, E. R. (2014). Women, aging, and ageism. London: Routledge.