By Jane Evans & Carol Russell

It’s not often that a non-fiction book keeps me gripped from start to finish. Books about midlife women unleashing their power we have seen before, but this one is different. A whole new take on our recent history, once you become aware of this stuff, there’s no turning back.

Like the fact that “women weren’t officially included in medical research until 1993”, that midlife women “are only the fourth generation of women who have been taught to read” and that “women born between 1950 and 1975 were pioneers in all areas of work and society, yet have become almost completely invisible except to our families and friends”. Well when you put it like that…

We know the odds are stacked against women past a certain age, but finding out – thanks to Evans’ insights as a former high flyer in the sector – how the advertising world has played its part in removing our seat at the table adds a whole new dimension. Not to mention the way female creatives have had to struggle to survive past a certain age in the male-dominated advertising industry. Add to that Russell’s perspective of black women, for whom that seat at the table never even existed, and you’re in rich learning territory. It’s a perspective we don’t tend to hear about enough.

There are some powerful role models in this book – women who have quietly changed the world in incredible ways – and they illustrate how different things could be for us in the second half of our lives if only we’d get confident with tech, use our innate wisdom, skills and imagination, get entrepreneurial and support each other fully – as Evans and Russell clearly do. This may feel like a tall order right now and indeed some of it feels a bit utopian, but that’s OK. We have to aim high. “Now there’s a whole middle to life and it’s fantastic,’ says Evans. If we could just harness a shred of the authors’ feisty confidence and grit, it’s a call to action well worth heeding.

Marina Gask

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