On-Air Highlights

Changing Lives Of Women: Women & Aging

Written by Fred Vigeant, Director of Programming and Promotions for TV and Radio | Nov 8, 2015 2:56 PM

For the fourth chapter in the Changing Lives of Women series, NPR looks at women and aging.

Age 65 is the technical definition by the U.S. government for "elderly" but over 50 has historically been the cultural marker for 'older' in this country. This series will intentionally include elements that cross generations of women, looking at demographic, medical and cultural trends and how time plays out on the body differently for women than for men.

The series airs across NPR's newsmagazines weekly through the month of November. 

Fear The Older Woman  Morning Edition
Read any European fairytale and there's a good chance the older lady is "generally ugly, evil, and determined to take advantage of the heroine," as one study puts it. Why is the older woman always so dangerous? NPR's Elizabeth Blair looks into this, and into African, Japanese and South American fables, where the old women are more ambiguous -- often terrifying, but endowed with great power.

Exploding Market In 'Comfort Shoes' At Explosive Prices Morning Edition
There's been a sea change in footwear that tracks with the spread of female boomers' aging feet. Casual shoes that used to be available only in black or white and worn by nuns and nurses now come in thousands of styles and triple-digit prices. What's driving this market and its price? And what specifically happens to women's feet as they age that differs from men's? NPR's Shereen Marisol Meraji has the story.

Mining Menopause: Personal Care Products Go Mainstream Monday, November 9; All Things Considered
Products for things middle-aged women don't like to talk about are showing up in primetime TV ads. In the same way Viagra made "erectile dysfunction" less stigmatized, manufacturers who want to reach a large and prosperous demographic group -- menopausal women -- are developing products that address their changing physiology. NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates reports.

65 and Poorer Tuesday, November 17; Morning Edition
A higher percentage of women over 65 are living in poverty than the over-65 population as a whole. While that's not entirely new, this group is living longer and there are more of them. Because women's wages are lower throughout their careers, and they often leave the workforce to raise children or care for elders, their Social Security earnings are lower going into old age. Now they have to last longer. NPR's Ina Jaffe has the story.

Stopping The Clock Wednesday, November 18; Morning Edition
The number of American women who are choosing to freeze their eggs has shot up since 2012, when the American Society of Reproductive Medicine declared egg-freezing no longer an experimental procedure. With companies like Apple and Facebook covering the costs of the procedure, some younger women are coming to terms with aging -- by trying to bank their fertility. NPR's Eliza Barclay reports.

Age. Romance and Internet Scams Week of November 24;
Widowed and single women over 65 may face tougher odds than men when it comes to finding a new mate. According to the last census in 2010 there are 30 percent more women than men in that age range. Then, there are the challenges of being older in a world which emphasizes the beauty of younger women and still accepts older men who want to date someone more youthful. So, what's it like to try and find a mate for women over 65? NPR's Laura Sydell takes a look.

Vanity At 85 Wednesday, November 25; Morning Edition
At 85, writer Anne Bernays decided to dye her hair bright blue. She found she got far more compliments than she did criticism. She reflects on why vanity doesn't disappear even after 80, and why we place so much importance on a woman's appearance.

'Black Don't Crack' Weekend All Things Considered; Date TBD
It's a common saying, so much so that journalist Jonathan Capeheart says he once advised colleagues to add 10 years to the age of any African American in the news whose age they didn't know. Host Michel Martin explores the expectations of age we hold for women and the ways they are expected to accept or deny their age in different communities.

Aging On Screen  Weekend Edition Sunday; Date TBD
Maggie Gyllenhaal is among the younger generation of Hollywood actors calling out the industry for its inherent bias in casting older leading men with very young romantic partners. At 37, Gyllenhaal was considered "too old" to be a love interest for a 55 year-old co-star. But for most actresses getting any roles after 40 or 50 is a long shot. Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin convenes a group of three show business veterans about how they've handled aging in the entertainment business.    

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