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Exploring older women's citizenship: understanding the impact of migration in later life

Cook, Joanne


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Professor Joe Cook
Professor in Organisational Behaviour/Human Resources Management


Research on the ways in which having been an international migrant in later life shapes the welfare needs, preferences and expectations of non-native older people in rich countries is in its infancy, for both the ageing and migration fields have been slow to examine the experiences of older migrants. This paper focuses upon the welfare citizenship experiences of older women who migrated in later life to England, either as refugees or as post-retirement migrants. It reports findings from interviews and focus groups conducted with black Caribbean, Irish, Chinese and Somali older women migrants in Sheffield, Yorkshire, UK, as part of the Older Women's Lives and Voices Study. The paper explores their experiences of accessing welfare citizenship and the barriers they encountered in accessing mainstream services. In particular, it examines the unequal platform from which older migrants who do not speak English access welfare citizenship rights and services, and assesses the important constraints of discrimination and language differences. Despite the obstacles, the older women participants were actively pursuing their inclusion in welfare rights and services. The paper argues for more recognition of the important enabling role that informal systems of support provided by participation in community or cultural organisations plays in the welfare citizenship and agency of minority ethnic older women.


Cook, J. (2010). Exploring older women's citizenship: understanding the impact of migration in later life. Ageing and Society, 30(2), 253-273.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Aug 14, 2009
Publication Date 2010-02
Print ISSN 0144-686X
Electronic ISSN 1469-1779
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 30
Issue 2
Pages 253-273
Keywords Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health; Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous); Health(social science); Geriatrics and Gerontology; Social Psychology
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