Retired women and volunteering: The good, the bad, and the unrecognized

Olena Nesteruk, Christine A. Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


In this article, we examine varied attitudes and practices toward volunteering in later life, as shared by a group of 40 retired women. We categorize women based on their engagement in retirement and label the categories according to societal expectations as follows: traditional volunteers as "good," nonvolunteers as "bad," and caregiving volunteers as "unrecognized." Using critical gerontology and a feminist framework, we juxtapose the lived experiences of retired women with a prevailing discourse on successful aging and civic engagement. We advocate for societal recognition of caregiving as a valuable form of volunteering, as well as the need to respect multiple ways in which older women experience and find meaning in later life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-112
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Women and Aging
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • Caregiving
  • Civic engagement
  • Retirement
  • Volunteering
  • Women


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