Wicked Wednesday: Strong Older Women

We continue our Strong Women theme for the month this week.

Wickeds: who is – or was – a strong real woman over sixty you admire(d) for her strength? Is/was she strong in character, in muscles, in emotional intelligence? Describe her strength. Bonus points for pictures.

Julie: The first woman who comes to mind is Eleanor Roosevelt. Though she was inspiring throughout her life, post WWII while in her sixties she became a delegate to the United Nations, and became the first chairperson for the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. She wrote, remained politically active, and took on many other roles well into her 70’s. An inspiration.

Liz: I have to go with Jane Fonda. She’s such an inspiration as a still-working actress (who doesn’t love Grace and Frankie?) and her advocacy work. Her latest efforts are focused on the environment – and she was instrumental in delivering enough support to the UN from 157 countries to get a Global Ocean Treaty in place just this year.

Edith: Liz, Jane Fonda has been an activist for decades. Good pick, as is Eleanor Roosevelt. I’m thinking of Madeline Albright. She became US Ambassador to the United Nations at age fifty-six and the first female Secretary of State at sixty, and received the Medal of Freedom at seventy-five. Yes, she was involved in several controversies, but one involved asserting her opinion that women should support other women. At root, I applaud that statement.

Barb: I’m laughing because “old” seems to be a moving target. I’ve blown by several ages I thought were old when I was younger, but happily, I’m still here. I find now that the women I admire are the ones who are just a little older than me–5 years, 10 years. I love watching how they navigate this part of life, taking away tips as I can. They’re not names you’d recognize. Well, some are writers so maybe you would. But I don’t think any of them would appreciate being on my list of “older women,” so they will remain anonymous for now.

Jessie: Like Barb, my pick is a woman who is not a household name, but has been a huge influence on me for the past twenty years. Over that time I have had the privilege of seeing her life up close, watching her try new things, follow her dreams, and pass through extraordinary grief with grace. Her relentless curiosity and interest in expanding her world year over year are two of her greatest strengths. I don’t think I would be the person that I am today without her influence.

Sherry: After watching the Oscars I’m adding Michelle Yeoh (winner of Actress in a Leading Role and she’s only 60) to my list of women I admire. In her acceptance speech she said, “And ladies, don’t let anybody tell you you’re ever past you’re prime.” Cheers to that!

Readers: Who is your favorite strong older woman?

25 Thoughts

  1. I’m going to go with Jaime Lee Curtis and the work she does with reading for children. I’m all for reading at all ages. She looked amazing at the Oscar’s the other night too.

  2. Billie Jean King
    Eleanor Roosevelt
    Ann Richards of Texas
    Barbara Jordan
    Several personal mentors/bosses

    1. i chopped off one on my previous comment. Dolly Parton.
      I was thinking of Rosalyn Carter and how much she reminds me of my Mom with her quiet strength and support. All I saw from my Mom was constant support of what my Dad wanted to accomplish in his career and life. My mom was terrified of heights but I know of two occasions that she overcame it to go with my Dad to fly over the Grand Canyon in a helicopter and to take a hot air ballon ride at the Albuquerque Balloon Festival. I didn’t fully realize how strong and independent she was through her life. She was actually the one that signed them up for the balloon ride. She said if I don’t die from fright, I’m going to enjoy the H*** out of it!

  3. I’ll go with author, historian, and political activist Angela Y. Davis. The life she’s led advocating for social justice is remarkable.

  4. Barbara Jordan is one of my personal heroes. Barbara Baer Capitman, who darn near personally saved Florida’s South Beach Deco district from the wrecking ball, is another.

    1. Yes to Barbara! In the early 1980s I was involved with the movement to save Florida South Beach. Barbara was a force of nature.

  5. Barbara Jordan is one of my personal heroes. Barbara Baer Capitman, who practially single-handedly saved Florida’s South Beach Art Deco district from the wrecking ball, is another.

  6. My maternal grandmother, such quiet strength… four daughters, 3 of whom were born in the mid1920s when she was in her mid to late 30s, a husband totally devoted to her (who nonetheless was deeply involved in rum running), widowed at 62, who lived independently until 80 in an 1812 home. She never flinched and was always tolerant of this granddaughter who in her college days would run into Grammy’s home, yelling “just gotta use the bathroom, yours is closest”. Grammy counted that as a visit. A wise woman who said of children, “when they are little they tread upon your toes, when they are big they tread upon your heart.”

  7. One personal, one has already been discussed, and one – WHAT I can’t believe no one picked her.
    Personal – Jean Raines, she was a role model to me in all things and ways. Miss her every day. One discussed – Jamie Lee Curtis – amazing woman and person. Hope to meet her someday, would love to share lunch and stories. WHAT – No one has mentioned RBG Ruth Bader Ginsburg! A strong woman, a trailblazer, always compassionate, always reasoned, always thoughtful and through it all, modest and surprised that she was a role model.

  8. A lot of great choices of great women. Certainly very inspirational. But I choose a personal friend. I had the honor of celebrating Miss Spellman’s 100th birthday with her. She was mostly blind and deaf, lived alone in a small apartment, did her own cooking, sewing, and just about everything else. I was a volunteer who helped her with her personal finances, taxes, and whatever other paperwork needed to be taken care of. She was a WWI nurse who helped set up well-baby clinics in foreign countries. She was a friend of Lawrence of Arabia. She always lived in some sort of group housing (nurses did that then) until she was 85. Then she moved into her own apartment and taught herself how to cook. And she was a good cook! She was fearless. She rode the Boston subway system, took walks around downtown Boston, and never used a cane. She was just a little mite – I don’t think she was even 5 feet tall, but she was a mighty mite!

  9. Actually, I would have to say me! I am 73, work part-time at a real estate firm (somebody has to keep the agents inline) and write for ColoradoBlvd.net. I am a Commissioner for the City of San Gabriel, CA. Although I live in California, I still manage the family farm back in Iowa. After having several surgeries over the last 10 years, including double-by-pass open heart surgery during the pandemic, I’m pretty pleased to be here! I have two grown children & three granddaughters, all of whom I’m very proud of. Not to take away from any of the famous suggested strong women, but sometimes the ordinary, everyday woman is overlooked.

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