Discover more from The Queenager with Eleanor Mills
Meet the Queenagers
Only a fool would ignore women in midlife.
I’m always banging on about gendered ageism – where sexism meets ageism – but being in the lovely Noon bubble most of the time I don’t personally encounter it. But last week I got a full-on dose! I was at a breakfast for media founders (exciting) and was exiting the Gerkin (feeling very Alan Sugar) and chatting to a couple of forty-something men about paywalls (as the former Editorial Director of The Sunday Times I know a bit about that). We had a jolly conversation and one of them said: “You are all over this, we should have lunch!” He asked what I was doing now and I said I’d set up my own company. “Wow”, he said, “A woman of your age setting up her own media outfit, that’s amazing.” He meant it as a compliment but it was one of those remarks which came with a back-swing of prejudice. As if to say – an older woman being an entrepreneur – impossible, surprising, out of the ordinary, when the truth is women in their fifties are the fastest-growing demographic setting up their own businesses.
This for me epitomises what we are trying to do at Noon: changing the narrative around the later stages of women’s lives so that the world can see all the fantastic things we are doing. The current script is SO not fit for purpose, which is also what we have found in the landmark Noon research – the biggest study yet of women aged 45-60 – which we called Meet the Queenagers which launched last week. (You can read all about it on the Noon website, and my article about it in The Daily Telegraph is here, and more coverage was in the Financial Times).
Here are some highlights:
Queenagers are behind 95% of all household consumer purchases and outspend younger women by 250%.
They are #forgedinfire: over half of them have experienced five or more out of illness, bereavement, divorce, redundancy, mental illness, domestic abuse, troubled teens, elderly parents needing help etc but those who have been through the fire and come out the other side are now the happiest.
81% say work/life balance and being in control of it is the most important aspect of their working lives.
Only 5% say 'kudos' or 'status' is a motivator in their career.
Nearly two-thirds say they would be more likely to buy from a brand that speaks to them directly (interesting as NONE do, the only thing we get sold is incontinence pants and wrinkle cream).
Nearly a third of professional women aged 45-60 are childfree and 40% of those have no kids by choice (these women feel the least represented in the wider world).
I posted about the research on my LinkedIn and we’ve had 25k views, with women all over the world loving the moniker #Queenagers and agreeing with the Noon position that midlife is the age of opportunity. What particularly resonated was my comment that I want young women to really plan and envision their Queenage years as when they become the women they were always destined to be. It is the age of becoming! This research matters not just to older women but to ALL women. Why should women be seen as peaches – one wrinkle and you are out – while men are seen like good wine, improving with age. I want my daughters to look forward to being fifty as being in their prime and for society to reinforce that message. We need to abolish gendered ageism for good.
In the meantime: I particularly love Julie Poole’s article about being a rock chick and playing in a band in her fifties. And I am so proud of the panel we did for International Women’s Day with BBC presenter Louise Minchin and Foreign correspondent extraordinaire Christina Lamb amongst many other distinguished women – if you want to know what Female Determination looks like check it out.
Lots of love to you all – have a great week.