Gray Ladies in The Spotlight

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Science  29 Jul 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6042, pp. 553
DOI: 10.1126/science.333.6042.553

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Vast throngs of angry young men may be one of the lasting images of the protests that toppled Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak earlier this year. But it's a member of another rapidly growing demographic group—call it "wise old women"—that some Egyptians have named "the mother of the revolution." For researchers who chart the growing numbers and shifting roles of women older than 65, a growing corps of graying women are actively engaged in the civic life of their often male-dominated communities, taking on stabilizing social roles that others sometimes can't.

  • * David Malakoff is a writer in Alexandria, Virginia.

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