The Raging Grannies: Understanding the Role of Activism in the Lives of Older Women
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Guided by feminist gerontology, this qualitative study explored the role of activism in the lives of older women. More specifically, it examined the involvement of older women in one particular group of activists, the Raging Grannies. Of particular interest was to understand the experience of how and why older women become involved in activism. This study was collaborative in nature, with in-depth active interviews as the primary method of data collection. In total 15 women participated in face-to-face interviews, with five women contributing to the study in an on-line Raging Grannies forum. Participants were located in Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. The findings demonstrated that these women, who used non-violent, creative methods of protest, challenged the traditional views of growing older. Through their activism, the Raging Grannies also created community. Although the Raging Grannies did not define their experience as leisure, they described their experience as "fun" but rewarding work. The intent of this research was to contribute to the literature on ageing and leisure while giving the opportunity for older women to share their stories. Emergent theory suggests that activism for these women represented the application or expression of shared life experiences which are unique to women. The Raging Grannies provided the space for the study participants to express their collective life experiences, particularly in the context of shared concerns around a more just, fair and sustainable society.