Something very interesting is happening out there in the 50+ work world. Women are taking the lead in starting new businesses, leading organizations and just all around grabbing the baton and saying “This is my time.” AGEIST publishes gender-balanced content, yet 65% of our readers are women. We find 5 amazing women to profile for every man. Our social channels are dominated by women. This is not just a coastal elite, or even USA phenomenon. We are global, and the trends we see are the same across the globe.
Women Lead, Men Follow
When it comes to later life, it is the women out front doing the exploring, taking the risks and leading the charge
Why is this happening? We have spoken to a range of experts and we have received a range of theories. From what we can discern, there is no single reason. What we can say is that this is very real, in spite of years of sexism.
It may be as Gloria Feldt said to me: “The men just need to make room for the women.” Maybe it is the men receding, maybe it is women who have managed to have a career and a family finding a turbo boost of energy after the kids are out of the house, or maybe it’s women just saying: “This is my time; game on.” Think about the time management and people management skills it takes to balance a career and have kids. As a man who was raised by a single working mom, I have some idea of how women do it — yet it is still a set of skills that I find awe inspiring.
True, what we are witnessing is the leading edge; AGEIST readers are not average, but not that aberrant either. We see that, for many people, there is essentially a new window of healthy, productive life in the 50ish to 70ish range, and that this new-found window of life is one of high productivity, high engagement, and high capacity. These people feel at the peak of their power. It is in this new group, living in this new life phase, that women are the ones who shine.
We tell our clients, if you want to introduce a product or a service, if you want to start something new, go to the women first, and the men will follow. It is the women out front doing the exploring, taking the risks and leading the charge. Maybe it has always been like this, but I can tell you that once people in our group hit their mid-50s, it becomes glaringly obvious. The women we see tend to be more collaborative, more communicative, more energetic, and more curious about new experiences than men this age. The big difference now vs with younger people, is these women are filled with a sense of confidence and purpose. Is this something that needed time to develop, or is it that the men have less energy to push down the women? Hard to say.
I am not a futurist claiming any special predictive abilities. What we do at AGEIST is simply say: This is a current reality, this is what is happening now. But if I were to be a futurist, I would bet on the future being female to a much higher degree than it is now. As Claus Kjeldsen of the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies told me: In the future there will be board-of-directors meetings where a director will say, “We need more diversity here; we need to get some men.”