Reflections on Women's Retirement

An older Latina woman with short gray hair and glasses smiles with her hand on her head. She has on a white striped shirt and is standing against a white background. Only the upper half of her body is visible. Lucas Guimarães/Pexels

Popular books and news sources often claim that baby boom women will “redefine” retirement. In this article, Ruth Ray Karpen, a baby boomer herself, draws on recent research on retirement and shares her own experiences to examine what it means to have a “good retirement,” taking into consideration the diversity of baby boomers, the range of their experiences, and their varying relationships to work.

“Feminist baby boom women who have devoted their lives to activism and social change agree on one thing: In retirement, they want to continue doing what “matters.” They still want to make a difference in the world, although not necessarily through paid work…One of the personal and political challenges for feminists is to learn how to use their own experiences in retirement to continue elevating the social consciousness (in regards to ageism, sexism, and able-ism, for example) and to change negative attitudes about women’s aging and old women.”

Note: This article is published in an academic journal but is written clearly enough to be relevant to many non-experts.