Gender Equality

Living Edition
| Editors: Walter Leal Filho, Anabela Marisa Azul, Luciana Brandli, Amanda Lange Salvia, Tony Wall

Gender and Relationship Status in Later Life

Living reference work entry


This entry considers the literature on women ageing “solo” – defined as women who are not-partnered and who do not have children, for any number or combination of reasons. “Ageing” refers to women aged 60 years and above to account for the average age when women may retire from employment and eligible for a pension.


The world’s population is ageing rapidly (United Nations 2015) and with increased longevity, the diversity of those moving into later life has the potential to challenge preconceptions and homogenization about ageing. The impact of relationship status for women in later life is one such theme that is emerging from the literature (DePaulo 2006; Lahad 2016; Hafford-Letchfield et al. 2017; Lambert et al. 2018; Khan et al. 2018). This nexus of ageing, gender, and relationship status offers a new conceptual lens for reviewing and extending the research on ageing. Different conceptual lenses can be useful for those developing ageing policy, in...

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Related Articles of Further Interest

  1. Khan H (2018) Single women and later life: health and well-being of older single women living alone in the UK. New Vistas 4(1):24–28Google Scholar
  2. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2019) World population ageing 2019. Accessed 17 June 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social Work and Social PolicyUniversity of StrathclydeGlasgowUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Tamara Hunt
    • 1
  1. 1.University Of ChesterChesterUK