Women's History Month is here, and we're excited to share who's giving us the feels in 2023. Check out these 7 women who are setting a new standard for what aging looks like for women today.
March is Women’s History Month and while we certainly don’t need a designated month to celebrate the amazing women in our lives, we can’t help but take a few extra moments to point out some women who are shifting how we look at aging. Women carry the majority of caregiving duties in society, and are typically juggling those duties with thriving professional careers, friendships, and more.
We can all find a reason to celebrate women throughout March and beyond. In fact, take time right now to send a quick text message or note to a woman who has inspired you, empowered you, or made you better. Tell her you are thankful for her impact on your life!
You are never too late to get stronger. In fact, physicians encourage women to start resistance training and lifting weights by their 40s as weight training can strengthen bones, boost sluggish metabolism, and create feelings of empowerment. For Venezuelan Josefina Monasterio - that's Dr. Monasterio - she decided that she’d try weight lifting at age 59. Six months later, she competed in her first show…and won.
Now, in her mid-70s, Josefina is inspiring women and men of all ages as she continues to look great and most importantly, feel strong. She’s found some fame as well, appearing on America’s Got Talent and writing a book. But she’s most at home in the gym, reminding all of us that we can always choose to be a beginner at something new.
If you’re in Chicago catching a Loyola University basketball game, you could be there for the hoops and collegiate talent. Or, you could be there to catch a glimpse of Sister Jean, Loyola’s Chaplain who has been cheering on the court sidelines for decades. During Loyola’s Cinderella March Madness run in 2018, the rest of the country was introduced to what Loyola alumni already knew: Sister Jean is the heart of the team.
Now 103, Sister Jean is a new author. Her book, Wake Up with Purpose! What I’ve Learned in My First 100 Years, came out this year. You’ll find her on television morning shows, both locally and nationally, as well as in the Loyola locker room where she still serves as the basketball team’s Chaplain.
Better known as Babs on Instagram (@brunchwithbabs), Barbara Costello is bringing homemade recipes and wisdom to feeds across the globe. She was happily retired and helping out her daughter during the pandemic when her daughter suggested that Babs try out TikTok. While she was hesitant at first, Babs quickly became a viral sensation and now has a cookbook and several sponsor agreements. She’s an influencer and shows us all how to make the most of every meal, vacation, and moment.
Babs might not have expected to be an influencer in her 70s but she loves it. She’s recognized in the grocery store and she has the opportunity to inspire women at all stages of life, all thanks to social media.
Making a way in the sciences can be challenging for women today. However, finding a woman who has excelled in the field in her 60s is nearly impossible. But Pamela Melroy likes impossible things. She was appointed the NASA Deputy Administrator in 2021 by President Biden, but her career started long before she was sworn in. Pamela served more than 20 years in the Air Force and was even a NASA astronaut.Pamela has made waves throughout her career and she has no intention of slowing down. She is proof to girls and women everywhere that there is a place at the table (or space shuttle) for everyone.
You’ve probably heard of, or used, Bobbi Brown cosmetics. The company was started by Bobbi herself in 1991. Bobbi sold her namesake company to Estee Lauder in 1995 for nearly $75 billion. But, did she retire? Goodness no! She had more things to do.
After her noncompete with Estee Lauder ended in 2020, Bobbi was 65. She used her experience and her expertise to launch a new cosmetics company, Jones Road. During the first year, Jones Road reportedly made more than $20 million in revenue, showing us that retirement doesn’t always mean relaxing on the golf course.
Chef Helene An came to America from Saigon in 1975 with just her three daughters. As a refugee, she had to work extra hard to make an income to support her family in a new country. She did so by returning to her roots: Vietnamese cuisine. Today, the empire she started with what is now considered Vietnamese fusion consists of one of the most popular restaurants in Los Angeles, Crustacean.
Today, her noodle dishes are beloved by celebrities and locals alike, though the recipes are top secret. She, with her daughters, found a way to make her restaurants survive – and thrive – during the pandemic. Now approaching her late 70s, Helene has no plans to retire. Instead, her daughters have joined the family business and they are relishing their time in the kitchen together.
If you’ve been to the bookstore lately, or have been checking out your “book-stagram” feed, the novel Lessons in Chemistry has likely popped up. It’s a New York Times national bestseller and has been touted as a pick for many celebrity book clubs. But what makes this novel extra special isn’t the great character development or plot. It’s the age of the author.
Bonnie Garmus published her first book at age 64, long after most authors give up. However, she didn’t let her rejections (more than 98 over time) get her down. Instead, she kept working and found her breakthrough with Lessons in Chemistry.
Of course, it isn’t just authors and chefs and bodybuilders who are breaking ceilings and setting new boundaries for women. You can take a look in your own office, neighborhood, and family to find older women pushing down obstacles and creating new paths for themselves and for those younger women who are following behind.
Here’s to the women who are leading us to a new way of looking at aging. We can see aging as the opportunity to try something new, like social media influencing, or to inspire a new generation on the basketball court.
After all (in the infamous words of Beyoncé) - we all know who runs the world (girls, of course)! Happy Women’s History Month!
Haley Burress writes for Seniorly on the topic of senior living and the aging experience. With a long history of roles in Life Enrichment and Dementia care management for top senior living providers like Sunrise Senior living, Haley now also serves the non-profit senior living sector in a volunteer capacity. Ms. Burress holds a Bachelor's degree in Healthcare Administration from Northern Illinois University and a Master's degree in Therapeutic Recreation Administration from Aurora University.
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