29 Jun Seeking Powerful Older Women
When you think of ‘powerful’ and ‘women’ who or what comes to mind? By definition, powerful means “having great power, prestige or influence”. In 2017 women began asserting their voices and demanding more access to the world–in all areas of life. The #MeToo movement is still demanding a lot of attention and we are seeing some shifts in thinking and many changes as those who manipulate women are being pushed aside. This article is less about the political movement and more about aging women and our role in the world to shape policy, advocate for women and change public perception. Most important for me is the ways we as powerful women can provide inspiration for ourselves and those following in our footsteps.
Here’s what I know about powerful older women. It’s not about thinness or whiteness of skin. It’s not necessarily the woman in the business suit or the one who’s successfully managed to hide her age through expensive plastic surgery and cosmetics. Power isn’t simply about having money or a visible position in the world. It doesn’t disappear when we hit menopause–the age of the crone. Power is strength and vision, commitment and beliefs–women who have a desire to make change in the world–even if that change is “only” in their tribe, or their small town, or work environment.
We can admire and gush over Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Maxine Waters and other prominent women but we also must look farther and wider. Society has shaped our view of what power looks like and it’s misleading. The original article started with listing and imagining very visible women–actresses (not actors), politicians, and CEOs (rare in number). I failed to consider women who remain invisible on a grander scale for whatever reason, women who don’t fit the cultural definition of powerful. Our unsung sheroes.
Let’s create different definitions. Let’s pay more attention to the women around us, instead of been influenced by media-produced and carefully curated images telling us who we must consider powerful or important. And, it’s worth noting that our culture, still, in 2018 isn’t predisposed to talk about power and women in the same sentence.
We must look inward and acknowledge ourselves as powerful voices in our world. If we can’t see and acknowledge our own strengths and capabilities we become stuck behind some wall of “But I’m not ________”.
At this stage in my life I want to see women who have navigated the waters successfully, whether in their professions or some other prominent way in their environment. Role models. Women who aren’t afraid of their age or their success, comfortable in their own skin and proud to wear the mantle of power as well as share that power with others. And I want to nourish my own sense of purpose and power, along with that of the women I reach in my work and in my daily life.