women

Woman aged 40-plus are reinventing life today. The result? There are no rules about the way we live the second half of our lives, as our fascinating new research and compelling interviews show…

You might be married, single, divorced or remarried. Perhaps you’re the breadwinner, on a board, working part-time or running a business and have no kids, a new baby or teenagers. There’s not just one type of woman, but, together, the way we’re reworking life after 40 adds up to a fascinatingly different way of living. So what common ground do “Generation Y Not” women share? First off, age is irrelevant and, instead, it’s all about attitude and experience. Despite the recession and job losses, we’re also still more likely to be working and we’re often the main breadwinner. With this goes increased spending power, both in making key decisions and in disposable income. Yes, we know… the household bills are bigger, but we remain a powerful economic force. When it comes to the brands we choose, we like to compare notes and pass on recommendations – and we’re four times happier than women under 40. We also like new ideas and trying new products and new experiences. “Generation Y Not” women pick up on new trends… and we’re part of a trend ourselves.

Fact 61% of social networkers are part of “Gen Y Not”*

Fact 80% more likely than the under 40s to feel healthy

Here, four women like you talk about being part of “Generation Y Not”…

She’s a woman with a vision

Emma Scott, 43, is founder and managing director of the free digital TV services Freeview and Freesat. She has two daughters, aged six and five.

 

Description: Emma Scott

“Launching Freeview made me realise what I was capable of”


“When I left school, I wanted to work at the BBC, but thought that was just a pipe dream, so I got a job working for an MP. I’d probably have happily stayed in politics if I hadn’t gone on a gap year to Australia. I ended up staying there and working for a small telecoms start-up. By the time I had left, the company had grown quite large, which meant, on returning to the UK five years later, I had the experience I needed to land that dream job after all, and ended up working for Greg Dyke at the BBC.

Politics and broadcast have interesting parallels, as both work to effect change, and that’s the direction my career has taken me. I’m a strong advocate of the importance of public service broadcasting because I really believe in the power of the media and the effect it has on people’s lives. That’s why, when I launched Freesat in 2008, which provides free digital TV with no subscription, it was so important. We all talk about these shows at work the next day, whether you’re watching Newsnight or Downton Abbey – they all have an influence.

I’d previously launched the free-to-air digital service Freeview in 2002, and this achievement made me realise how much I was capable of. Going on to launch Freesat presented me with the challenge of running a start-up business for the first time. But whenever I do something new, and I enjoy and excel at it, I feel I can do anything.

The biggest challenge for career women of my generation is making sure that work doesn’t take over. My family is the most important thing in my life and I have to be clear about boundaries between work and home. The trade-off for having the balance I want is that I’m always contactable. It’s not realistic that I can turn off my BlackBerry the minute I leave the office”

She’s a woman who makes things happen

Emma Parry OBE, 52, co-founded the charity Help for Heroes with her husband Bryn, an ex-army officer. They have three grown-up children.

 

Description: Emma Parry OBE

“If I’d known how big and fast-growing Help for Heroes would become, I’d have been terrified!”


 “The year we started Help for Heroes, I’d reached a crossroads. The children had left home, and Bryn and I had been running a cartoon business, based on his drawings, since he left the army in 1985. I wanted a change, I was thinking about doing a part-time degree – it never occurred to me that by the autumn, I’d have launched a charity.

We knew we had to do something when we received harrowing emails from my husband’s old regiment in Basra, Iraq about casualty rates and horrific injuries. At first, I though Bryn and I could raise £10,000 doing a bike ride, but the idea snowballed until we were looking to raise £5m to build a new swimming pool for the army rehabilitation centre, Headley Court in Surrey. When we discovered there wasn’t a relevant charity we could donate the money to, we set up our own.

Had I known how big and fast-growing Help for Heroes would become, I think I’d have been terrified. But sometimes you have to take the plunge. I discovered I had lots of skills I didn’t realise I possessed. It’s very daunting, though, to go from running a small business to being responsible for millions of pounds.

Retirement has never been part of my vocabulary. I’m not saying we will be running at the same pace in five years, but I can’t believe we’ll ever stop working for Help for Heroes. Work is good for the soul, and I love a new challenge”

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