Women Still at Work

Professionals Over Sixty and On the Job

By (author) Elizabeth F. Fideler

Publication date:

25 June 2012

Length of book:

220 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9781442215504

From Betty White to Toni Morrison, we’re surrounded by examples of women working well past the traditional retirement age. In fact, the fastest growing segment of the workforce is women age sixty-five and older. Women Still at Work tells the everyday stories of hard-working women and the reasons they’re still on the job, with a focus on women in the professional workforce. The book is filled with profiles of real women, working in settings from academia to drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, from business to the arts, talking about the many reasons why they still work and the impact work has on their lives.

Women Still at Work draws on national survey data and in-depth interviews, showing not only the big picture of older women advancing their careers despite tough economic conditions, but also providing the personal insights of everyday working women from all parts of the country. Their stories showcase some of the key themes women choose to stay at work—including job satisfaction, diminishing retirement savings, the need to support children or parents longer in life, exercising the hard-won right to work, and more. Women Still at Work shows employment to be a positive and rewarding part of life for many women well beyond the expected retirement age.
This is a compassionate yet realistic portrayal of women professionals “of a certain age.” More than typical research studies of such organizations as AARP, MetLife, and Pew, this investigation in truly distinctive by providing all readers at least one role model with whom to relate. The book’s quality rests on, one, the credentials of author Fideler, a well-experienced professional who recently started as a research fellow for Boston College’s Sloan Center on Aging and Work. And, two, the range of survey participants. Chapters are segmented into sociological and demographic components: where they work, why they work, personal challenges and concerns, and volunteerism. The results manage to spill out of the rigid confines of facts and figures, and numbers and trends, to capture the reader’s attention and empathy. Meet Amy Kaiser, the director of the St. Louis Symphony Chorus, who’s been at her job for more than a decade; or Dollye M.E. Robinson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Jackson (Miss.) State University, who, although refusing to state her age, is as vibrant as much younger contemporaries. Inspiration is best summarized by interviewee Susan Damour, who says 'If you are passionate about something, go make it happen. Meet a need. Ability is ageless.'