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What’s a “Queenager” and Could You Already Be One?

A new term has been coined for women aged 45 to 65 who are at the top of their game professionally, but whose expertise is often overlooked.

Lately, many new terms have been coined to describe people who are in the later chapters of their life. “Modern elder.” “Oldster.” “Silver surfer.” “Prime-ster.” The newest, and most flattering, has to be “Queenagers.”

This is the word for women in midlife who began their careers in the 1980’s, the decade when the “glass ceiling” was first identified and when breaking through it became a possible if incredibly difficult-to-achieve goal for ambitious, corporate women. But in the ongoing discussion over the progress women have made—and still need to make—in the work place, this key group is often overlooked.

They’re described as being in “the age of opportunity.”

Noon, a website dedicated to serving this group, came up with the name Queenagers and describes the group as being in “the age of opportunity.” Unlike their younger colleagues having babies and bringing up families, with every spare penny eaten up by childcare, it says, Queenagers enjoy a high degree of autonomy and spending. But above all they prize freedom.

Now, many of those senior female executives are leaving the workforce, according to Bloomberg News. In rejecting unsatisfactory jobs they also debunk the working assumption that one size fits all for every phase of a working woman’s life.

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Are You a Queenager?

To understand the challenges ahead for women today it’s crucial to consider what Queenagers have accomplished and how the playing field has shifted since they first made inroads into a male-dominated business world. Queenagers range in age from about 65 all the way down to 45. These women typically have relatively high incomes and a high degree of freedom in the choices they’re now making, either because they have moved beyond their child-rearing years or because they chose not to have children in the first place.

These women typically have relatively high incomes and a high degree of freedom in the choices they’re now making.

“The important thing to understand about this cohort of women is that they are pioneers, the first generation of women to work all the way through,” explains Eleanor Mills, Noon’s founder.

“There is overwhelming evidence that more women at the top of organizations makes good business sense, and there is a clear competitive advantage for companies that get this right. Businesses need to wake up to this and make changes now to retain midlife women and offer them opportunities to progress,” says Joy Burnford is the Founder and CEO of Encompass Equality.

Queenagers as Moguls and Mentors

The question now is will a new generation of rising corporate women do as well? And what can the successful Queenager do to show solidarity with younger women and guide them on the path to their own successes?

For Queenagers, flexibility is 16 times more important than status.

For women it often gets back to a critical phase: how to successfully navigate the years of juggling careers with having kids—and the often huge financial costs required to do so in a society where men, on average, still significantly out earn women. The International Labor Organization shows that women still earn on average about 80 percent of what men do.

The number of women in the workforce has hist a plateau since the turn of the century, even allowing for the pandemic-induced drop. And at the heart of this stagnation is pay.

Still, Noon found that flexibility is 16 times more important to women aged 45 to 60 than status—and way above the value they place on reaching the corner office or receiving a swanky title as rewards of seniority. For many, particularly those who had worked in corporations for a couple of decades and had the financial resources to go it alone, starting their own company or consultancy was seen as a way to get the flexibility and autonomy they craved, according to Mills.

It seems if they can’t get some semblance of royal treatment in a company, Queenagers will set up their own monarchy. Long live the Queens!

Read More: The Personal Toll of Starting a Business Over 50

By NextTribe Editors


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