Age Is Just A Number For Women
Why is it that woman outlive men? They seem to have a driving force that instills this supposedly weaker sex’ with the courage, urge and the drive to survive. The same trend continues all over the world: the power to stay alive is simply inbuilt in women throughout their entire lifecycle. Women outlive men by about five to six years. And at age 100, the ratio is more than two to one.
Research attributes the ageing process to the gradual build-up of tiny faults in our body, like damage to DNA strands, deranged protein molecules and so on. The balance between the speed of damage build-up and the correction to this damage is the root cause of ageing and perhaps a determinant of our lifespan.
Thomas Kirkwood, author of ‘Time of Our Lives: The Science of Human Aging’ presents the disposable Soma Theory stating that longer-lived animals have better maintenance and repair systems than short-lived animals do, ‘Our genes treat the body as a short-term vehicle, to be maintained well enough to grow and reproduce, but not worth a greater investment in durability when the chance of dying an accidental death was so great. In other words, genes are immortal, but the body – what the Greeks called Soma is disposable.
Women Are Less Disposable
After much research this gerontologist states that perhaps women live longer because they are less disposable than men. He says this notion makes biological sense as the female body is very important for the success of reproduction. The mans reproductive role is not directly dependent on his continued good health.
As a social gerontologist. I add that women have remarkable multitasking skills and their minds are constantly working on juggling the numerous roles they play in life; this not only inculcates a desire for wellness and health but also keeps them alert and on their toes, there is no scope for illness and disease to set in, as the stakes are too high!
Of course there are exceptions to deal with, but by and large responsibility and a reason for getting out of bed each morning add years to lite. This brings us to focus on the ageing work force of women and how ¡lis affecting society.
The power stay alive is simply inbuilt in women throughout their entire lifecycle!
Social Conceptions (Women And Age) Social conceptions about women and ageing have changed greatly. The International Longevity Centre (ILC) of UK has launched a report on how older women are forgotten. It says older women are the “glue that holds society together. With free child minding and caring for others they do contribute enormous amounts in untold and unseen ways to the country’s economy, the world over!
In the workplace too, the contribution of older women is being recognized. Older women are one of the fastest growing segments of the population and need to be included in the workforce as well (Florence Shen & Brendan Birth). Pioneers like the activist Maggie
Kuhn in USA, who started the Gray Panthers movement claimed that, “old people and women constitute Americas biggest untapped and undervalued human energy source.
Ageing Women And The Economy
Keeping the elderly women engaged both physically arid emotionally reduces expenditure and builds a vibrant economy as the more productive they are, the more their contribution to the flow of economy.
The decades of learning, reliability, skill and experience offset the worry that older persons are not as technologically advanced as their younger counterparts. It has been shown that older women are less demanding of perks, more calm and resilient at routine work and deliver well, albeit a bit slower, but so what, it’s the bottom line which counts!
Viewing the most influential women in modern day India, it is not surprising to see a majority of them being 50 and beyond, like Arundhati Bhattacharya, the lady leading the State Bank of India, IFS officer Nirupama Rao, speaker of Lok Sabha – Sumitra Mahajan, entrepreneur Kiran Mazumdar- Shaw, Scientist Tessy Thomas, Kiran Bedi, Med ha Patkar and others.
Clothing, cosmetics, housing, recreation, travel and more are all tuned to the needs of the mature women. The British Airways advertisement honouring a grandmother travelling going viral on the internet, is ample proof that age is a special phase of life, to be cherished by those around us and to be relished by those experiencing it. Age is just a number for women – the more they age, the better they become