By Miriam Bernard; et al

1. girls growing old: altering identities, difficult myths / Miriam Bernard, Pat Chambers and Gillian Granville -- 2. 'Women's paintings' and the transition to retirement / Julie Skucha and Miriam Bernard -- three. operating carers: worrying staff / Judith Phillips -- four. Our getting older selves: reflections on getting older / Miriam Bernard and Val Harding Davies -- five. Menopause: a time of non-public switch to a mature identification / Gillian Granville -- 6. Older ladies undergraduates: offerings and demanding situations / Patsy Marshall -- 7. Women's voices in bereavement / Linda Machin -- eight. Widowhood in later existence / Pat Chambers -- nine. Older ladies, long term marriage and care / Mo Ray -- 10. ladies growing older: altering coverage, difficult perform / Judith Phillips and Miriam Bernard

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For example, although the women recognised the objectively low value of ‘women’s work’, they asserted its personal value, and whereas they often saw retirement as something for men (full-time continuous workers) many also aimed to approach their later life with optimism that it would entail similar benefits for them. It is also useful to note that, in the absence of the women’s consensus over several issues, displaying diversity among a relatively small group of mature and older women in similar employment circumstances became a key aim of the analysis.

A brief account of its development, aims and approaches establishes a setting in which to place the women’s views of their requirements. PRE originated in the USA in the late 1940s and was introduced into Britain in the mid-1950s. Molly Heath (1976:16–17, cited by Phillipson and Strang, 1983:8) describes the intentions of an early British course. The aim was to help participants through the initial months of retirement, …when anxiety, depression and introspection might do infinite harm, and to give them a boost, to give them all the practical, factual help they might require.

So, although their transition to retirement can be said to be characterised by both gender—and age-specific features, some of its aspects must be expected to mirror more general experiences of change. This raises a number of questions about how they are to prepare themselves for later life. One of the clearest messages that they wished to convey was that they had firm confidence in their ability to cope. Although this is explicitly a statement of optimistic resilience, it may also be viewed as an embodiment of an expectation of neglect or their resignation towards a perceived inevitability.

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