Following on from the discussion (starting here) in the medical open thread, what does the future look like for elderly women, the ones who have out-lived their ‘useful’ useby-date?
Well, it’s not good. First let us consider the female life cycle. As a girl child, you probably have a 20-25% chance of being sexually abused, with most perps being male. Then you reach puberty or adulthood, and have about a 1 in 4 chance of being raped or sexually assaulted, most perps being male. So you ‘do the right thing’ and get married and have a few kids, leaving you at least a 1 in 4 chance in your lifetime, or a 5-10% chance annually of being the victim of domestic violence, or even one of the two (UK) women killed by their partners or former partners, with most perps being male and most victims being female.
You give up your career to look after the kids, there is no real impact on Nigel’s career having kids. If you do work either during or after the marriage, chances are it will be in a lower paid role or profession (a pink ghetto). Of course, by the time you reach 45-50, ageism specific to women, will make it hard to find a job. You might even be sacked.
Maybe you are recruited for freebie babysitting for your daughter’s (or son’s) kids, but generally marginalised if you offer any helpful suggestions on child rearing. This is while you are still young and mobile enough to help, before any chronic health problems set in.
Hopefully at this time in your life, your Nigel has dropped dead of a heart attack leaving you widowed. Although, if Nigel is still about, there is no guarantee he isn’t an abuser and will bump you off. Or maybe your 50yo Nigel-son bumps you off.
If you manage to get through all of that, and avoid serious health problems (therefore avoiding being shipped off to a nursing home with sub-standard care, unless you are lucky enough and rich enough to be in one of the more upmarket homes that will bleed your finances dry at a rate that will make your head spin), you live independently at home, sometimes with carers to come in and help you.
Then, you have the local burglars and rapists that see you as easy pickings, so much so, twice in one day (hey, you might just be spritely enough to fight back). Note that the “Night Stalker” Delroy Grant raped the elderly women, no mention of buggering the elderly men that he robbed, it’s that cis-female privilege thing again!
So basically your dream of living out a peaceful old age, going to cake-bake sales at the local church or community centre are pretty slim odds.
The majority of the news links are from this month, March 2011, and are NOT ALL of the (robbery, rape, murder) events that have happened to elderly women this month. The work tribunal case was from earlier this year, but most women do not have the time or resources to fight employers. There are also a bunch of accidental deaths from fires or drowning. Most of these links were found at the BBC News site, just doing a search for “elderly woman”.