Since I retired at the age of 60 I have considered that ageing is a feminist issue. I joined the OFN (Older Feminist Network), G.O.D (Growing Old Disgracefully) and for years I concentrated on informing myself about ageing and attending as many conferences and workshops as I could. My main interest was the representation of old women, in the press and visual media. Then came the general disclosure of the Crisis in Care. I blogged on 15/11/2011 about a meeting of the Greater London Forum at the House of Commons. This was a turning point in my interest: I thought that the main issue about ageing centres around Care. Care for people who have no voice.
In the last month I attended two events that were pertinent. I blogged about the Greater London Forum for Older People Question Time in October. More recently Dr. Jay Ginn gave a lecture at the The Conway Hall Ethical Society, Thinking on Sunday : Who owns children? Social visibility and status near cradle and grave. “…my own talk yesterday drew parallels between old and young, mainly in having little voice or influence, being dismissed by officials, justifiably fearing retribution when they complain and not being believed when they do.
I ended by asking the old question ‘who will guard the guardians’ (having shown how many senior men are involved in children abuse and porn) and suggesting an answer that is perhaps utopian; collective vigilance by people in each neighbourhood acting as ‘mothers’ to protect children from abuse and to support older people. I was thinking of gatherer-hunter tribes where women and children stick together and there are no opportunities for a man /men to take a child away from the group of ‘mothers’ i.e women of all ages. But I’m aware that not all neighbourhoods have the ‘social capital’ to take this on.” (J.G. Personal Communication)
I have recently joined my local Pensioners Forum and for the first time attended the AGM of the Greater London Forum for Older People. I was amazed by the variability of the activities of these local forums. Some of them have a huge membership, are well organised and make their voice heard where it matters. These organisations could be the site of support and the voice for us feminists who are concerned by the abuse that some frail people suffer in these days of austerity and cuts.