We once admired older men who continued to run the country, the economy and larger firms and institutions – look, he’s 85 and still running the Fed!
Well it takes time for women to do the same given the late start we’ve had getting seen and heard above the glass ceiling. Take, for example, Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel and Janet Yellen: women who are changing the world.
Rather than ‘starting to take it easy’, an ever-decreasing slide towards shorter hours and eventual retirement, more older women should be full steam ahead at work, and may be better at helping to solve some of our most pressing economic and business problems.
It seems to me that the new retirement age is not 65, nor even 95.
But social norms need to change in order to make the best use of the excellent resource and talents of older women who want or need to work longer, even if it is on a part time basis.
This will improve their lifetime incomes as well as adding to economic growth. And, in simple terms, the longer women keep working, paying taxes and buying consumer goods, the more they contribute to the economy.
In the U.K. employment rates among women aged 65-74 have risen steadily since the financial crisis of 2008.
Older women have plenty to contribute. Much like fictional characters Jessica Fletcher and Miss Marple, who use their knowledge of how people behave to solve crimes, older women in the workplace can also employ their own life experience.
The skills that women over 55 at senior management have developed in work mean they are potentially the most effective at changing businesses, according to a recent report by accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). They say that these women are more likely to be strategists, who can make genuinely transformational change, partly because of different experiences and also greater ability to both argue their points and empathise with other perspectives.
These leaders are most likely to be in non-executive or consultancy roles, rather than employed within the company; they aren’t afraid to take up issues that challenge established thinking.
So let’s stop thinking retirement and start thinking achievement and influence for as long as we feel capable.