Ourselves, Growing Older: Women Aging with Knowledge and Power

Cover of "Ourselves Growing Older"Authors: Paula Doress-Worters and Diana Laskin Siegal, in cooperation with The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective

Publisher: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster

Publication date: 1994 (2nd edition)
First edition: 1987

Status: Out of print. Some used and new copies can be found online.


The following excerpts are from Chapter 16: Women’s Health and Reforming the Medical-Care System


“The New Ourselves, Growing Older” takes a positive, empowering approach to the physical and emotional health and social well-being of midlife and older women by providing frank and complete information on personal health.

From Publishers Weekly:
In 1971 the Boston Women’s Health Collective published its first book, “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” and thus the field of feminist health care was born. “Ourselves, Growing Older” began as one chapter of that original work; the Collective published the first edition in 1987. The authors here explain the book’s evolution: “Most of us in the Collective were in our twenties and thirties when we first met–now we are heading into the second half of life… we fought the medicalization of childbirth; now we move to questioning the medicalization of menopause. We challenge the notion that disability comes inevitably with aging.”

Clearly what hasn’t changed for the Collective since 1971 is the recognition that there is an unbreakable connection between the personal and the political when it comes to health care. For a woman, taking control of one’s life and one’s body is the most basic feminist principle around, and this book encourages readers to move in that direction, breaking down a formidable barrier of the mind — the fear of growing old. The information given is tailored to the needs and questions of baby-boomers as they enter the second half of life, addressing everything from the lack of clinical studies on aging using women as subjects, to becoming a mother-in-law, to HIV and safe sex. Pages are also devoted to managing finances and current proposals for a U.S. national health care system. Health is a political issue, and good aging means staying healthy — and involved. This is a self-help book with a conscience.

From Library Journal:
Later life is a time of challenge and opportunity for women. Although they have an average life expectancy of almost 80 years, women often face chronic health and financial problems, caregiving responsibilities, and lack of care for themselves as they age. The original “Ourselves, Growing Older” (LJ 11/1/87) was one of the first books to focus on the health and social concerns of women over the age of 50. The new edition retains much of the original information on relationships, pregnancy and birth control in midlife, housing, and health conditions but includes significant updates reflecting advances in breast cancer research, nutritional guidelines, menopause, and healthcare reform. It also features an extensive resource list of books, articles, and organizations. Enhanced with photos, poems, and quotations, this work emphasizes empowering older women in all aspects of life. Highly recommended for general and women’s health collections. — Karen McNally Bensing, Benjamin Rose Inst. Lib., Cleveland