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Women and the push and pull of work in old age: femininity and the entrepreneurial self

Older women were, until recently, virtually absent in mainstream media. However, in the past 5 to 10 years, women aged 50+ have gained more visibility, often being depicted as empowered and entrepreneurial. However, these representations are at odds with the realities faced by many older women in the UK, who have been hit hard by neoliberal reforms, the financial crisis and the austerity measures that followed. Hence, in this political, social and economic context, working beyond retirement age might not be just about choice, but both choice and necessity. This interdisciplinary research project employs multiple methods to explore the way older women workers are understood and depicted in UK social policy and popular culture, and how women themselves make sense of their own experiences as older workers, with a specific focus on the intersections of age, gender, disability, race and class. Through this project we aim to provide an insight into the gendered dynamics of population ageing, and how these are related to the politics and culture of neoliberalism under austerity.


Ella Fegitz

Last Updated 11.02.2020