International Women’s Day 2024

Getting older is one of those inevitabilities in life; of course we know that one day we will be classed as an ‘older person’, but we just get on with life, trying not to think about it, and then suddenly, there it is; younger people start speaking an unknown language, one of your knees is a bit creaky, but it’s probably just got a bit of a draught to it (in July) and there’s a strange person with greying hair and laughter lines looking back at you in the mirror. How did we get here? And more importantly, why does society start to treat us differently? We definitely don’t remember giving permission for that!

In our Trauma Ambassador Group, we have an amazing group of individuals of varying ages, but for International Women’s Day 2024, with its theme of ‘inspiring’, our members wanted to celebrate the value and power of the older woman. And rightly so; every one of us carries with us years of knowledge and experience, we have learnt many lessons, have immense empathy and a strong desire to make positive change.

Let’s meet some of our fabulous older (by their own definition) women.

One of Suzi’s paintings


I have the belief of turning pain into purpose. I am 54 years young and am about to get the first of four books published on inner child healing, all in poetry form.

I have created workshops on varying topics in regard to wellbeing, a long-lost dream I have always had.

Apart from this I absolutely love being older, I command the respect I deserve and give to others equally. I am fully happy in my prime.’


Kari on a sky-dive

‘Don’t assume that we can’t keep up with the younger ones, because we absolutely can. Getting older doesn’t mean you have to fade into the background. Older women start successful careers, overcome major obstacles, they can climb Mount Everest if they want to. We want to be seen for the independent badasses we absolutely are!’


‘When I was young, I thought I could change the world.

Della taking part in a violence against women protest march.

When I was middle aged, I was angry at how little the world had changed and I felt it was still urgent but seemingly impossible.

Now I’m older I realise that speed possible matters less than consistency… like water eroding a rock Because I will still carry on and never give up …not only for me but for the next generation and generations yet to come who will benefit.’


‘I see the power of an older woman comes with her life experience. Using that in a positive way to help others.’

Jean on her bike


‘It took me a long while to learn that well behaved women don’t make history. I know now that I am amazing. It was in 2017, not long after I first met Marilyn, that I wrote a poem and read it out at a meeting Marilyn was doing to introduce me to other volunteers at Freedom from Abuse.

I did a 100k bike ride to raise money for the charity Freedom from Abuse. I went tubing with my kids for my 70th birthday too.’

Marilyn with a barn owl


‘Even our own children sometimes write us off, but we’ve lived a whole book of life. When they leave home, marry or get partners, you suddenly feel invisible. It can be very difficult to come to terms with the fact that you no longer feature like you used to. Older women often have skills and crafts that are dying out; we need to be able to pass these on to younger generations. We have to re-engineer ourselves in order to not fade away. We have so much to offer. I love to see older ladies going into schools or children’s wards in hospitals to be a ‘grandma figure’ to children and young people who don’t have that role model.

Once menopause is over you think it will all get better, and in many ways it does. The issue often comes in the realization that you aren’t really needed as the person you were any more. It can be a truly lonely time for many women, and that’s why we need to focus on ourselves. Create a bucket list and know that you have the right to fulfil it. I know too many older women who feel that they have lost permission to live, and we need to address that and come together to stop it happening.

I find my continuing purpose in my charity, Freedom from Abuse, where the kids have zero idea how old I am. Humour is so important and to be a free spirit. We’ve earned our stripes. I feel 40 in my head! We need to be celebrated as individuals from the cradle to the grave.

We hope that you enjoyed meeting these inspirational women, and remember to celebrate yourself and the wonderful women around you this International Women’s Day – and every other day.

If you would like to access support or information around any of the issues mentioned in this blog, give the Healthwatch Essex Information & Guidance Service a call on 0300 500 1895, email [email protected] or text/WhatsApp on 07712 395398.