Reflecting Realities: Aging Through the Eyes of Women Gerontologists

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Background: While women were instrumental in the development of Gerontology, many of their contributions have been overlooked within the discipline's historical dialogs. The Women in Gerontology Legacy (WIGL) Project: Mentoring Through the Academic Life Course, emanates from the Gerontological Society of America’s Task Force on Women. This poster examines one phase of the project where participants reflected upon how their profession informed their personal aging.

Methods: Participants were recruited through national gerontology organizations and invited to participate in a videotaped interview during conference annual meetings. 80% of the interviewees were age 70 and held Fellow status. Interviews have been transcribed and analyzed for relevant themes.

Results: 25 interviews have been completed including videographies of the women discussing their own personal aging. While past research has shown how aging adults construct the concept of personal aging through differences in self-perceptions and subjective age identification, our interviewees discussed the disconnect of teaching aging as a female through textbook experiences of aging females’ possible life and the reality of their lived professional and personal lives. These experiences include those of being a member of the sandwich generation, role changes, intergenerational relationships, caregiving, biological changes, and psychological changes. This perspective is in stark contrast to the traditional academic view of aging, where information is presented from a detached reality rarely incorporating our own personal struggles or experiences.

Conclusions: While aging has been a diverse experience for these women each emphasizing how the gendered-lens continues to play a role in their own aging processes.


International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics-European Region Congress (IAGG-ER)


Dublin, Ireland