Retiring Women
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Retiring Women

Work and Post-work Transitions

Philip Taylor, Catherine Earl, Elizabeth Brooke and Christopher McLoughlin

With current policy concerns about shortfalls of labour supply and effects on the social welfare system due to population ageing, there is a need to understand the factors that shape women’s choices about if, when and how to retire. Recent trends indicating the increased workforce participation of women demand new policy responses to the end of careers and retirement transitions to sustain acceptable levels of participation and productivity. This book is innovative in that it will examine constellations of factors that disadvantage or advantage women’s career and retirement trajectories against a backdrop of public policy efforts to extend working lives.
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Chapter 7: After work? Understanding older womens portfolio life transitions

Philip Taylor, Catherine Earl, Elizabeth Brooke and Christopher McLoughlin


Chapter 7 reports qualitative interviews with older women about the pursuit of an active, fulfilling and productive retirement, and the mechanisms that promote these outcomes. Contrary to notions of the blended lifecycle, analysis reveals a stark division between paid work and retirement for many women at the same time as an ongoing commitment to socially valued and productive albeit unpaid activities that form a portfolio career. Furthermore , analysis reveals an increased sense of autonomy and control over decision making among retired women that contrasts with their experiences of paid employment.

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