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Whitaker Ideas Forum: Alison Herbert, Rural women ageing at mid-life: Exploring the connecting influencers on social exclusion and quality of life
March 7 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Speaker(s): Alison Herbert
Affiliation: Gender and Public Policy
This paper explores gendered rural mid-life ageing and examines the factors that influence social inclusion/exclusion and quality of life. The paper focuses in particular on the pathways between place attachment and social inclusion, exclusion, social isolation and loneliness, and considers how these multiple concepts intersect with social relationships to influence the quality of life experienced by rural women at mid-life and beyond.
Findings from qualitative interviews of 25 women in rural Ireland aged 45-65 years of age, and informed by qualitative grounded theory methodology identify influencing factors of quality of life to be place, health, work, and social relationships. This paper explores these influencing factors, and considers the role of policy interventions in building social capital. Interventions that address deficits experienced in the areas of work, health, location and social relationships may have the capacity to reduce the risk of social exclusion. This is true both at the mid-life ‘crossroads’ stage of the lifecourse when many women review their past, present and future lives, and in older age when rural women may experience diminishing relationships, health, and financial resources, rendering them vulnerable to social exclusion.