Reflections on the Intersectionality of Gender and Ageing in the Middle East

by Shereen Hussein

10 Aug 2023
Journal of the British Academy
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Abstract: The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has been traditionally characterised by young population demographics but is currently experiencing fast transitions into ageing societies. The region has strong narratives of respect and high regard towards the elderly that are embedded in cultural norms. However, such narratives appear to have limited practical applications as they contradict the experiences of older people. The experiences of older women and men are likely to be impacted by existing gender differentials across the life course including marriage patterns, societal expectations and access to opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated infection control restrictions have impacted the lives of older people globally, including in the Middle East. In this article, I reflect on the intersectionality of gender and ageing perception in the MENA region, drawing on qualitative data collected as part of the Middle East and North Africa Research on Ageing Healthy (MENARAH) Network between 2020 and 2022.

Keywords: COVID-19; intergenerational care; older people; social isolation; ageing perception

Article posted to the Journal of the British Academy, volume 11, supplementary issue 2 (Narratives of Old Age and Gender: Multi-disciplinary Perspectives)

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