From Success to Significance: A Woman's Place in a Post-Retirement World

By Dennis, Helen | Aging Today, March/April 2011 | Go to article overview

From Success to Significance: A Woman's Place in a Post-Retirement World


Dennis, Helen, Aging Today


In her recent book, When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from i960 to the Present (New York: Little Brown and Company, 2010), The New York Times columnist Gail Collins relates an incident involving Lois Rabinowitz, a 28year-old secretary for an oil company executive. Rabinowitz, dressed in a blouse and slacks, went to traffic court to pay her boss's speeding ticket. As she approached the judge, he grew irate over her appearance and sent her home to change her clothes. Rabinowitz got her husband to pay the. fine. And she promised that she would burn all of her slacks.

In the 1960s, many American laws rendered women invisible: a husband controlled his wife's property and earnings, and co-signed her credit cards; a woman had to have her husband's permission to launch a business; and in some states, women could not serve on juries.

The workplace also made women invisible. Typically, women held behind-the-scenes jobs as office workers, receptionists and part-time bookkeepers. They cleaned offices and homes and were cashiers. If they were college graduates, they usually held low-paying jobs as teachers, librarians and nurses.

When it came to work, 1960s women were compliant. In her book Collins writes. "When Nora Ephron graduated from college and applied for a job at Newsweek she was told, '"Women don"t become writers here.'" According to Collins. Ephron recalled that it never would have occurred to her to be outraged or object to such treatment.

WOMEN: FIFTY YEARS ON

Things have changed considerably in the last 50-odd years: today, half of medical and law school students are women. They dominate pharmacy and veterinary medicine. They represent 40% of dental school graduates. And women now outpace their male peers in graduating from college.

From the 1960s and on through the women's movement, work has become an increasingly significant part of women's identity (despite die fact that women in the American workforce still earn less than men - about 80 cents for every dollar earned by men).

So now we face the question: What happens to that identity as mis large generation of women retires from dieir careers and jobs? For many, leaving die workplace for retirement often means leaving behind their identity - an integral component to a sense of purpose. And few, if any, role models exist for these women.

Although feelings of lost or misplaced identity are not shared by all pre-retirement or retired women - many of whom look forward to leisure, rest and time to devote to other important pursuits - there are women who love or had loved their work, and who are uncertain about their postretirement identity. They defy the stereotype that a woman can always return to a traditional domestic role for her life satisfaction. If living life exclusively in this role was insufficient for many women 30 and 40 years ago, it's unlikely that a full-time return to it would be fulfilling.

OF DOWNTURN, DEMOGRAPHY AND A BRIGHT FUTURE

Today's uncertain economy points toward looming anticipated shortages of retirement income.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

From Success to Significance: A Woman's Place in a Post-Retirement World
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.