It seems like every day the media issues another dire warning about how we aging baby boomers are about to become a giant drain on the country. Since I’m the leading edge of this soon-to-be-retired tsunami of grey-hairs, I usually feel a combination of fear, depression and anger with each new media blast. We’re the children of the sixties for goodness sake. Our generation of women fought for equality, marched for peace, changed the world. We were the superwomen who burned our bras in public so that our daughters could have it all – careers, families, and a seat at the table. We made a difference then. What makes the media think that we aging boomers (women and men) won’t step up and do it again? Call me a cockeyed optimist, but I don’t think we’re done yet – just because we’re about to become retired. In fact, our 60’s, 70’s and even 80’s might be the perfect time to step up again and change the world in new ways. We’ve always had the compassion and the passion, but now we have the knowledge, skill and a whole lot of experience to add to the mix. Pretty simple, really. But not always easy. We need a cause. We need a movement…
And so it was perfect timing when I received an email notification from photojournalist and author, Paola Gianturco announcing the publication of her latest book – Grandmother Power, a Global Phenomenon – documenting a growing new international women’s movement. In her book, Paola shares the stories 120 activist grandmothers in 17 grandmother groups from 15 countries on 5 continents who are fighting courageously and effectively – against poverty, disease, illiteracy, and human rights abuse – to create a better world for grandchildren everywhere.
From the Raging Grannies who dress in crazy hats and aprons and sing funny songs to attract media attention to key political issues, to the African grandmothers raising their grandchildren orphaned by AIDS, to the illiterate grandmothers in India who spent six months learning to be Barefoot Solar Engineers, bringing light to their dark villages, Paola gives a voice to the work and power of grandmothers all over the world.
Paola Gianturco is a brilliant and deeply committed woman who I had the very good fortune to meet five years ago when she so generously came to Portland to speak at one of my Flourish Sunday Salons about her book Women Who Light The Dark. Several years ago Paola left the corporate world to begin her second act as a photojournalist. Through the lens of her camera, we meet women from all walks of life, accomplishing extraordinary things, in all parts of the world. What a gift. Paola has published five books and I’m sure she’s not done yet.
Reading a book like Grandmother Power give me a powerful shot of inspiration, motivation and hope. Aging and retirement don’t have to be a slow march to the grave. As an aging, soon-to-be-retiree, and a grandmother myself, I agree completely with Paola (also a grandmother) when she says ~ “Today’s grandmothers are younger than, better educated than, more professionally experienced than, and (despite the economic downturn) relatively better off than grandmothers have ever been. My dream is that they will ask themselves how they can best use their experience, energy, wisdom and creativity – their power – to create a better future for grandchildren everywhere who deserve to live in a better world.”
Come on grandma. What are we waiting for? There’s work to be done!
If you are inspired to use your grandmother power but are not sure where to start, check out the Grandmother Power website. It is filled with information on how to find a program that calls to you and get involved – join a group, start a group, learn more and get involved so you can make a difference. Buy the book! Burn your bra! Join the movement!
All proceeds from Grandmother Power go to support Grandmothers to Grandmothers.