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Research Project

Gender and ageing in NRW - Accompanying the development of reporting on the elderly 'Alt werden in Nordrhein-Westfalen' ('Getting old in North Rhine-Westphalia') from a gender perspective

Duration: - 12/2013-11/2014 - supported by Ministry of Health, Emancipation, Care and Aging of North Rhine-Westphalia


The living conditions of older and very old people are heterogeneous and point to different potentials and problems. However, the phase of old age cannot be separated from the entire life course, from the effectiveness of social dimensions of inequality and from developments in society as a whole. ‘Gender’ plays an important role as a dimension of socialisation and self-relations.

The individuals - as 'men' and 'women' or as people who evade these classifications - are not only exposed to biographical, socio-cultural demands and different social policies, they shape their own lives, take advantage of occasional structures, reject them or work around them and thus bring about 'alter(s)' as a phase in their lives.

The conception and accompaniment of a reporting on the elderly in NRW therefore set out on the basis of a socio-analytical, multi-dimensional approach that captures the relationships of privilege and/or disadvantage in the course of a person's life and their entanglement with other dimensions of inequality, as well as on the basis of a systematic consideration of the actions of the actors who live and manage their everyday lives 'in their own sense' and quite practically.
Accordingly, this research concept was based on a theoretical and methodological approach that worked on and linked three perspectives:

  •  a gender perspective embedded in social analysis, which examined transformation processes in societal sub-areas (gainful employment, ways of life and 'family', welfare state) with regard to the implications for aging from the perspective of gender studies,

  • a chronologically / generationally situated life situation concept that has analysed the complex life situation of older and very old men and women in different social subfields, according to regional (urban / rural) and infrastructural aspects

  • finally, milieu research aimed at resources of practical lifestyles, which asked about the specific practical and social orientations of individuals and their strategies of action in coping with everyday life.