Thanks Jane Caro, National Treasure and great role model for women. In The Age, “Sunday Life ” you explore the role of the older woman: “older women are not just a force of nature but a force business needs to reckon with”. It is great news that older women in their later lives can enjoy the benefits of the spoils of their working life.
And of course Jane Austen had a thing or two to say about older women. In Sense and Sensibility, we meet the widow Mrs Jennings. She is first introduced as a comic character and readers may not feel much for her, however, by the end of the novel we have witnessed her kindness towards our heroine, Marianne. We see a happy and contented single (widowed) woman contributing to her community. Often the older widowed women in society are forgotten; their desires and interests do not figure in the great literature of any civilisation. It is as if Jane Austen is being subversive again as she positions the reader: At first we laugh at Mrs Jennings and then, like Spontaneous-and-Sentimental-Marianne, we re-evaluate our prejudices. Contented-Widow-Mrs Jennings lives a full and happy life with her friends and family and her broader community. She is a great example of an older woman in the latter stages of her life who finds contentment with the things around her. She is busy travelling up to town to enjoy the social pleasures, visiting friends and family in the country and retiring to her own house when it suits her.
I cannot help but think of my own widowed mother who had a very satisfying life at this stage. She liked to dine with friends, travel a little and enjoy her family and grandchildren. It is great news that with an economic passport women can have even more.