With an increasing proportion of older people in the Australian population and increasing health and longevity, paid work after the age of 65 years may become an option or a necessity in the future. The focus of this research is on Australian women of the baby boom generation, their working futures, and the work-retirement decision. This is explored both from the viewpoint of women and from a social policy perspective. The research draws on Considine's model of public policy, futures studies, and Beck's concept of risk society. The research comprises three studies. Using focus group research, Study 1 explored the views of Australian women of the baby boom generation on work after the age of 65 years. Study 2 aimed to explore current thinking on the research topic in Australia and overseas. Computer-mediated communication involving an Internet website and four scenarios for the year 2020 were used for this study. Study 3 consists of the analysis of quantitative data from the Healthy Retirement Project, focusing on attitudes towards retirement, retirement plans, and the preferred and expected age of retirement. The importance of choice and a work - life balance emerged throughout the research. Women in high-status occupations were found to be more likely to be open to the option of continuing paid work beyond age 65 than women in low-status jobs. However, the women were equally likely to embrace future volunteering.The research findings suggest that policies for an ageing female workforce should be based on the values of inclusiveness, fairness, self-determination, and social justice, and address issues of workplace flexibility, equality in the workplace, recognition for unpaid community and caring work, opportunities for life-long learning, complexity and inequities of the superannuation system, and planning for retirement. Further, providing a guaranteed minimum income for all Australians should be explored as a viable alternative to the current social security system.
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