Population Ageing: Looking Through Gender Lens from the Perspectives of Developed and Developing Economies

K. Muraleedharan


Population Ageing, the inescapable upshot of demographic transition, has emerged as a development challenge, invariably faced by developed and developing economies. In fact, it is the shift towards higher age structures and consequent concentration of aged population1. (Peterson, Peter, 2001).Policy makers and social engineers increasingly understand that the population pyramids are becoming heavier and heavier at the top and that there are fewer and fewer adults of working age at the base to support the older generations. The concentration of old aged population in the society is bound to create profound impact on several aspects of the economy and polity. Hence, this phenomenon has been the focus of academics and the flow of literature show no signs of abating.  The increasing demand for health care facilities, extension of pension and other social security networks, provision of literacy and employment opportunities, caring of the aged by providing alternative support systems as well as  strengthening the existing familial support systems were the angles from which economists, anthropologists  and policy makers address this issue. (Walker, 1990:  Hoyert, 1991: Wolf, 1994: Pollard, 1995:  de Jong –Gierveld and van Solinge, 1995: Higuchi, 1996: Baldacci and Lugaresi, 1997 : Barai, 1997: Crimmins, 1997: Chaney 1998: Creedy, 1998: Jackson, 1998: United Nations, 1998: Cliquet and Nizamuddin, 1999:  : Bravo, 1999: United Nations, 1999: Gruber and Wise, 1999). However, a gender lenses to look at this issue is the missing focus in these series of attempts. But,  Population ageing, in its basic demographic aspects, is hardly gender neutral. ( Mirking and Weinberger, 2002) Hardly much research attention has been paid to women experiencing midlife and old age, even by ardent feminist writers though available anthropological and ethnological reports confirm that women live longer and head multigenerational households with more resilience and independence, than expected and they enjoy freedoms that are reserved for men and women with elderly status ( Chaney, 1998). This paper is an attempt in this regard.  This work, organized six sequential parts, examines the gender dimension of population ageing and analyses the consequences and policy implications of it.

The first part introduced the problem and discusses the methodology while the second part examines the recent attempts in this area. The third part provides a brief idea on the global scenario of population ageing both from global  perspective and from the perspective of developed and developing economies.  The fourth part examines the whole issue with a gender lenses and the fifth part looks into the consequences and policy implications, while the sixth part concludes the discussion.

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