Over Forty and Powerful.

by Denise Berger


Who else was cheering for Glenn Close when she won Best Actress for her role in the Sony series, Damages. Why? She nailed it when she said, “I think we’re proving that complicated, powerful, mature women are sexy, high entertainment and can carry a show…I call us the sisterhood of the TV drama divas.” Other awards were received by Dianne Wiest (60), Jean Smart (57), Laura Linney (44), and Dame Eileen Atkins (74). In her acceptance speech, Glenn Close was alluding to a new trend that is not exclusive to the entertainment field. I believe she was referring to the original meaning of a “diva”, a woman of rare and outstanding talent. Could it be that women who are over 45 years old are finding a “second life” (and I don’t mean avatars)? Yes! They have a great deal to offer, least of which is 30 additional years of skill, capacity and productivity. With such a talent pool, they are coming out as today’s architect of change. Can they have impact? Yes.


According to the US Census Bureau in 2007, the total USA population is approximately 300 million, with roughly a 50/50 split between males and females.

  • Twenty-five (25%) of females fall between the ages of 45 and 65; this translates to nearly 38 million women. (There are close to 37 million men in that same age bracket.) In this age bracket, 87.5% of females have a high school education and 27% have a bachelor’s degree or higher. (Thirty percent of this male demographic has a bachelor’s degree or higher.)
  • Women ages 35-44 year olds comprise 15% of the overall female population, or roughly 22 million women. Among this group of Gen Xers, 30.8% have a BA degree or higher (compared to 28% of males of a similar sized pool).
  • Lastly, women between 25-35 years old make up almost 15% of the total female population and over 32% have a BA or higher. The male age group represents virtually the same percentage to the total but the percentage of men earning BAs or higher has dropped to 25%.

These statistics indicate that mature women comprise the largest portion of the population and a comparable source of talent. Secondly, the up and coming Gen X women have competitively pursued higher education, putting them on the map as a significant pool of talent as well. Therefore, corporations have an amazing opportunity to fill the talent void with high-potential, qualified, highly-educated, talented, mature, wise, focused, responsible, reliable, and hard-working women. This opportunity is to the tune of over 10 million women who are 45+ years old and nearly 7 million up and coming women in the 35-44 age bracket. By the way, that does not even include the women who are 65+ years old who have an average life expectancy of 20 additional years, according to the Dept of Health and Human Services in their 2007 A Profile of Older Americans report.




Good Article!


Good article, very true!


Great points - as a new 40 year old I think that our age group and beyond has one more thing to bring to the table : we let go of the rat race because we gained confidence in our old age :-) and understand it is not defined by our position on a ladder.


Love that you say that. Being young at heart will be a huge success factor when we all approach menopause and beyond !!


I don't know about you guys, but I still feel like I am in my 20s ... most days :)


great article - interesting - stephanie