Occupational choice and vulnerability in late life: An example of women in the USA

R. McKnight, P. Teaster, J. Watkins, S. Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


During the years surrounding WW II, many young American women entered federal government employment. Most of them assumed low- to mid-level clerical positions; however, a few became highly educated and advanced to high-level government employment. These "government girls" as they were called assumed positions of power and authority uncommon for U.S. women at that time. The large commitments required for their employment, however, limited these women's time for fulfilling traditional gender roles, such as marriage and having children. We describe a study in progress that examines how gender role and commitment to government employment affect quality of life during retirement, especially late-life loneliness, propensity for institutionalization, abandonment, self-neglect, morbidity, and mortality. We believe that this study is replicable and applicable to similar older women in other countries. Our research topic and methods offer a unique opportunity to conduct collaborative studies on other populations of retired female workers in late life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-111
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Congress Series
StatePublished - Jun 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the Graduate School of the University of Kentucky for their financial support, and Joe Petrik for editorial assistance.


  • Aging women
  • Federal government employment
  • Gender role
  • Late-life vulnerability
  • WW II

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)


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