A 1991 study by Kite, Deaux and Miele showed that age stereotypes were more pronounced than gender stereotypes; respondents offered more elaborate free-response descriptions of older targets than of younger targets and described same age targets more similarly than same sex targets. Additionally, the gaps in sex ratio widens with aging.
Introduction Old age refers to ages nearing or surpassing the life expectancy of human beings, and is thus the end of the human life cycle. Elderly people often have limited regenerative abilities and are more susceptible to diseases, syndromes, injuries and sickness than younger adults.
Risks of older women: Senior citizens is a common euphemism for an old person used in American English. It implies that the person being referred to is retired or over a certain age limit, such as the age of 60. Gender norms restrict people’s gender identity into what is considered to be appropriate. These are neither static nor universal, and although the Constitution of India grants men and women equal rights, gender disparities remain in society. Research shows gender discrimination works mostly in favour of men in many realms including the work place. Discrimination affects many aspects in the lives of women, from career development and progress to mental health disorders. Tiresome and repetitive household chores, for example, are much more likely to be performed by girls than boys.
Gender norms in ageing: A 1991 study by Kite, Deaux and Miele showed that age stereotypes were more pronounced than gender stereotypes; respondents offered more elaborate free-response descriptions of older targets than of younger targets and described same age targets more similarly than same sex targets. Additionally, the gaps in sex ratio widens with aging.
Issues of older women: While costs and profits of institutions to house senior citizens with dignity have increased significantly, fraud and patient abuse continue unabated. It is evident that aging is a women’s problem and that its sources are the social systematic problems of the deprived. Older women are at great risk due to the factors such as: lack of superannuation, working part time or casually throughout their lives, bearing the brunt of the gender pay gap, taking time out of the workforce to care for family and age discrimination. A life event such as the death of a spouse, serious illness, divorce or eviction can push a woman into homelessness. Most women blame themselves for their homelessness. The reality is that no matter what they might have done, their homelessness is not their fault. The blame lies squarely on a broken system. Older women generally have low needs and need nothing more than a safe, affordable and permanent house.
Some recommendations from a Mercy Foundation report on ageing in Australia to solve issues faced by older women are as follows. They can be adjusted for Indian needs and realities:
- Developing a national housing and homelessness strategy with specific targets for women and older women.
- Implement a government strategy to address the current financial insecurity of older women.
- Gender inequality and discrimination must be addressed.
- Prevent future generations from risking homelessness by developing a comprehensive government strategy to address underlying causes of gender inequality.
- Establish a seniors hosting getaway program to address the housing support needs of vulnerable older women
Listening to their concerns and trying to solve their problems can precisely solve the issues of older women, especially those that are dependent.