FRIENDS OR FOES
Gerontology is an interdisciplinary field in which women have made important contributions for which they have received recognition, e.g., Carroll Estes, Jacquelyne Jackson, Eva Kahana, Marjorie Fiske Lowenthal, Bernice Neugarten, Matilda Riley, Ethel Shanas, and Lillian Troll, to mention a few. This has occurred without much specific feminist consciousness in the field. Whereas a handful of gerontologists have consistently integrated feminist- and age-consciousness in their work, e.g., Sharon Curtin, Zena Blau, Arlie Hochschild, only recently have older women become highlighted, or in some cases included, among the concerns of gerontologists. Only in 1973 did the 26th Annual Conference on Aging, sponsored by the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Michigan, devote itself to women (Institute of Gerontology, 1973); only in 1978 did the Baltimore Longitudinal Study add women to its study of normal aging; only in 1978 did the Gerontological Society of America give aging women significant emphasis at its annual meeting; and only in 1981 did the White House Conference on Aging have a special committee to deal with older women's concerns ( Markson, 1983).
Feminist theory has been proliferating since about 1970. Nearly from the start, feminist theorists working within the three major perspectives -- radical, liberal and socialist (see Jaggar, 1983; McFadden, 1984) -- have been developing analyses of aging (see, e.g., Bart, 1979; Bell, 1970; de Beauvoir, 1970; Demetrakopoulos , 1983; Jacobs, 1979; Olson, 1982; Nett, 1982; Rubin, 1979; Sontag, 1972). For some of these women, doing feminist work sparked an interest in gerontological issues. In one instance, the opposite process occurred, i.e., doing