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International Women’s Day is today, and we thought we’d celebrate by sharing five facts related to 50+ women – baby boomers and seniors.

1) Women continue to outnumber men at older ages. The chart below illustrates this truism – currently, about 15% of American women are over 65, vs 11% of men.

Chart - US Population by Age and Gender - 1970 to 2009(This chart also illustrates how people under 18 are a smaller percentage of the US population, regardless of gender. This is part of the longevity revolution, in which an average of 30 years has been added to our life expectancy.)

Marketing Take-away: There are differences in how men and women process information. If your senior service or retirement community caters to an older prospect, consider the reality that that prospect is more likely a women. Tailor sales techniques (or even the height of a display!) accordingly.

2) Women are delaying marriage and fewer of them are married than in the past. The US Census estimates that 15% of women have never been married.  Among seniors over 65 years old, 44% of women are married vs. 74% of men.

Marketing Take-away: Review the photography on your website, Facebook page or advertising campaign. Consider adding more shots of vibrant single women or groups.

You can learn more about what marketing imagery is most effective with Gen X, baby boomer and Silent Generation women in our free eBook, Photo Finish.

3) Baby boomers as a group are big spenders on travel, and women represent a great opportunity. Vibrant Nation found that 42% of Boomer women will spend more than $2,500 per person on every vacation.  More and more often these women are traveling alone or with a group of friends.

Marketing Take-away: Show women solo and in groups; emphasize flexibility and choice for rooming. Spotlight safety (but not in a scary way). And don’t force a single-person surcharge!

4) More women than men participate in adult education, and women are more likely to pursue work-related courses or personal interest courses. We see this as linked to the longevity bonus noted above. Women are realizing that they’ve received the gift of another 25+ years and think “how do I make the most of it?” As the Baby Boom generation has always had a drive to improve themselves and learn, for many women it’s back to class.Lifelong learning event for baby boomers, seniors at Traditions of America

Marketing Take-away: “Class” now is not limited to a community college or another institute of higher education. Several of our 50+ housing clients have seen great success from integrating lifelong learning into their campuses.

5) Mature women are experiencing a time of great transition, of tumult. They’re still likely taking care of children (adult or younger) and grandchildren and figuring out how to care for themselves.

This time can be accompanied by fear. As Jane Fonda put it, “I got scared. I thought I’m going to become a crotchety old lady. … When you’re inside oldness as opposed to looking at it from the outside, fear subsides. You realize you’re still yourself, maybe even more so.” She notes we actually need to re-set our “thermostat” – re-wiring our neural pathways by seeking out new experiences and reflecting on those new experiences.

Marketing Take-away: Be sure you’re listening to – and reflecting – the desires and even fears of your baby boomer and senior women targets. For new insights, read Michelle Seitzer’s excellent post on the subject on “My Mother and the Necessary Reinvention of the Modern Woman.”  And watch Jane Fonda’s excellent “Life’s Third Act” address at TEDxWomen, below.

Happy International Women’s Day to us all!

About The Author

Erin Read

Erin Read spearheads integrated and digital marketing programs for organizations targeting mature consumers. She writes, researches and speaks about marketing to baby boomers and seniors. Erin has addressed local, regional, international conferences on generational marketing. She is the co-author of three national studies/eBooks (Photo Finish; Social, Silver Surfers 2010 & 2013) and the principal blogger for Mature Marketing Matters.

  • Michelle Seitzer

    I guess I’m partial, being a woman and receiving a generous mention in this post, but I especially love this edition of the Five Fast Facts. Of course it’s timely, given that it’s International Women’s Day, and the information is relevant and thought-provoking, reflecting this exciting and sometimes uncertain era of womanhood we’re in. I’m glad to be part of it and look forward to what lies ahead!

  • Rachel

    Enjoyed the article…attempted to download the free E-book, Photo Finish, to which you made reference but got a 404 error.

    Please let me know how I might obtain the book.

    Thank you so much.

  • admin

    Rachel, thanks so much for letting us know about the broken link! Give it a try now – the full address is

  • Deborah Smith

    Jane Fonda’s 11 minute clip from the TED conference last year was so very inspiring, and gives a very uniquely female perspective on what aging can actually be: A “Third Act” that emphasizes ascension, as opposed to managing decline.