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University of Waikato By

By Sally Fenwick Ridley


The aim of this research was to contribute to the growing body of academic literature regarding older women’s stories of ageing. The initial impetus for the thesis came out of the disparity I observed between the way old women were often portrayed and the way older ageing was being lived by women I knew. Six women were recruited using an age range of 65 years and over and an association with a particular community organisation as recruitment guides. Two methods of data collection were used: diaries and semi-structured interviews. A qualitative narrative approach was taken to the data collection and analysis. The analysis revealed that the women viewed their ageing in a positive light. They constructed themselves as family orientated, as being and having friends and as active, independent participants within their own lives. Participants had clear ideas and expectations surrounding what they wanted from community participation and life in general. They spoke of the expectations of others and how these expectations sometimes lead to ageism and discrimination. Despite this it was apparent that being older had brought with it, for them, confidence, freedom, self-awareness and assertiveness. In short, these women required, actively sought, and usually accomplished, control of their own lives which involved places to go, people to see, things to do and most importantly the right to make their own choices. ii Acknowledgements This research would not have been possible without the wonderful women who participated so willingly. Thank you Betty, Una, Joyce, Eveline, Esther and Joan. I would like to pay a special tribute to Joan who passed away before the completion of this thesis. This work is also a tribute to the memory of those women whose lives have so influenced mine. These include my grandmothers, Stella and Mary, Aunty Inez

Year: 2009
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