Ladies, you’re never too old to be put to use as a lovely trellis

I can think of so many ways in which older women could be invaluable

Share

If you ask me, a study revealing that only 18 per cent of all television presenters over 50 are women would make me want to tear my hair out, if only I weren’t so aware that I am thinning splendidly without any assistance, so best not. But this sense that older women are no longer of any use not just on television, but to society generally, and should hide themselves away and stop cluttering up the place? Oh, come on. I can think of so many ways in which older women could be invaluable.

They could, for example, be put to excellent use in the home. One older woman I know has, for instance, put herself to work as a kitchen step-stool, and although she wasn’t initially convinced that it was the best use of all the wisdom she has accrued over an interestingly varied life, she is beginning to see the benefit. “It’s not especially comfortable, as I’m on all fours and am constantly being shifted from one end of the kitchen to the other, but, my God, it’s good to feel valued and important again, and good to know that no one would have been able to reach the flour without me.”

There are uses for older women in the garden, too, where they can be counted upon to make a lovely trellis. You may say that it has to be extremely boring, standing there day and night, limbs splayed, and with a clematis growing up you, but the older women who have chosen this option insist they have rediscovered a sense of purpose. As one puts it: “I would say to any older woman who feels as if she’s been tossed on the scrapheap: it’s your own fault, you’re just not trying hard enough to find meaning in your life. This clematis would be lost without me. In fact, if I were to walk away tomorrow, it would die!”

I could go on and on, as there are so many ways that older women could be out there, making themselves useful – Mavis Nicholson and Gloria Hunniford, I have to tell you, love putting all their years of experience to good use as goalposts down the park – and so it’s time to stop carping, and to just get on with it. True, men get to go on and on and on and on whatever, but as Julia Somerville, who now loans herself out as a hat for weddings, once confided: “I get a smashing view of the proceedings, and am often much admired, so put that in your pipe and smoke it, David Dimbleby. And David Attenborough. And Michael Palin. And John Humphrys. And Jeremy Paxman ...” God bless Julia Somerville, but she can go on a bit.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Residents of the Gravesham constituency are 10 times closer to what Peter Hain scorns as the “Westminster elite” than are those of Linlithgow and East Falkirk  

Will no one stop the march of localism?

Jonathan Meades
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam