In My Prime

Prof Martha Hickey's new project In My Prime is an initiative by Women’s Health Victoria in partnership with The University of Melbourne with the aim to address gendered ageism in healthcare.

We live in an ageing society. Women over 50 make up around 20% of our population, and that proportion is on the rise. We are active contributors to our communities: nearly half of us are employed, and around 1 in 4 of us are volunteers. A similar share of older women take on unpaid caring roles, looking after grandchildren, children and parents across the generations.

However, as we get older, the effects of gender inequality compound and combine with ageism, with real and worrying impacts on older women’s health and emotional wellbeing. An example of this is the way our health needs have often been ignored by medical research and policy – with much of the existing health research for women over 50 focused on menopause. While important, menopause is just one aspect of our lives, and the older we get, the less relevant it becomes compared with other concerns.

There can also be a recurring sentiment among some of us of feeling sidelined or “invisible,” which can have direct impacts on our wellbeing.

One of the solutions to feelings of invisibility is to increase our representation in the media and the public sphere. Presently, negative stereotypes of older women that emphasise age rather than experience or wisdom are common. Such skewed representation can contribute to negative self-perception, especially in a society that often seems to give primacy to youth. It’s noteworthy that older women face a heightened risk of poor self-image, even more so than their male counterparts.

In My Prime aims to address this. They consulted with the community they serve, to bring together accurate, positive representations of older women in all their strength and power. And they provide useful, accessible, and reliable information on a range of health and wellbeing topics relevant to women over 50 – including menopause, and much more!

The key components to the website are Health and Well-being and The In My Prime Gallery.

The In My Prime Gallery is an online exhibition of 30 nude photographs of women over 50 by Australian photographers Ponch Hawkes and Jodie Hutchinson. These photographs celebrate the diversity of older women’s bodies and show that strength is not defined by age.

The models are drawn from diverse communities around the state of Victoria in Australia, and include people with disabilities, people from migrant backgrounds, and transgender people.

In My Prime was created by Women's Health Victoria in partnership with University of Melbourne. The project is supported by the Victorian Government, the Women’s, Melbourne Academic Centre for Health, and National Health and Medical Research Council - NHMRC.

Visit the In My Prime website: https://inmyprime.org.au

You can also view the exhibition of the In My Prime Gallery at Queen Victoria Women's Centre from 7 September until 29 September.