An Issue for All of Us   

Marlyn Glen

1 May 2014

An issue for all of us

In Dundee, there are currently over 18,000 women aged 60 and over.

That is broadly the same number as in the 16-29 year old age group, and more than in either the 30-44 or 45-59 year old groups.

The forthcoming demographic shift towards an older population means that this older age group will increase, particularly those aged 75 and over.

As a consequence there will be a greater demand for social care and use of the NHS .

It is inevitable that the cost of care for the elderly will increase substantially as the numbers of older people is projected to rise to well over 1 million in Scotland 20 years from now.

This increase in demand of public services of an ageing population will have to be financed by a declining percentage of people of working age.

 As one health board in Scotland has admitted if there is to be no increase in real terms in funding “then the situation is unlikely to be sustainable……Our population has already begun to age and we are seeing higher numbers of older people using our services. We have budgeted for service adjustments to accommodate this. However, if population predictions are correct, this is simply the first gentle lapping of what will eventually become a tidal wave.”

The welfare of elderly women is an issue that will, in time, affect most women.

Younger activists not surprisingly concentrate their common starting point work around issues that arise from  their daily lives and the shared experiences of other younger women.

These include issues that are as relevant and as serious at they have ever been such as :  the unequal distribution in the sharing of  housework and childcare , domestic abuse and violence against women, the media stereotypes of women, job segregation, poorer career prospects, the gender pay gap, a woman’s right to choose.

However women's rights do not disappear as they age

Older women become economically more vulnerable, often with a future of uncertainty and anxiety.

They are more likely to be poorer than men because of a working lifetime of lower pay and on top of that often breaks in work to raise a family.

That is why it is an issue for us all - women and men.

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