Baby boomers – those of us born in the years between 1946 and 1964 – have been called the most self-actualized and expressive generation in history, but there have always been passionate, committed, and desirable women pursuing all sorts of DARE-ING and fulfilling feats of love, work and advocacy well into their post-40 years.
Here’s a salute to Famous Over-40 PASSIONISTAS We LOVE: Salma Hayek, Halle Berry, Diane Lane, Jodie Foster, Robin Roberts, Cate Blanchett, and Vanessa Williams, to name a few.
Over 50 and DARING to be healthier, wealthier and wiser than ever: Diane Keaton, Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dame Judi Densch, Glenn Close, Lynne Whitfield, Stockard Channing, Sigourney Weaver, Diane Sawyer and my personal favorite, Bette Midler.
Ageless icons who have inspired generations of women:
Clara Barton (1821-1912). Teacher, nurse, humanitarian; founded the American Red Cross at 52.
Dorothy Parker (1893-1967). Infamous writer who LOVED talking the nasty and doing the naughty. Indulged her DARING PASSION for words - piercing and pounding - into her 70s.
Margaret Sanger (1879-1966). Birth control activist, 42 when she started Planned Parenthood.
Coco Chanel (1883-1971). Still working in 1954, at 70! The only fashion industry person named to TIME Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.
Maggie Kuhn (1905-1995). Forced to retire at 66, started the Gray Panthers to promote and defend seniors. Worked passionately for 20 more years.
Estee Lauder (1906-2004). Driven by quality and to help women look their best, virtually invented the concept of “makeover” and free-sample promotions. Worked into her 80s.
Liz Claiborne (1929-2007). Disgusted with the quantity and quality of clothes for working women, founded her company when she was 46. In 1986, became the first company founded by a woman to make the Fortune 500.
Carolyn McCarthy (1944- ). Launched her political career (U.S. Congresswoman from New York) 10 years ago, at 54, after the murder of her husband and five other commuters by a crazed gunman. Passionately acknowledges that she will always be known as the “gun lady” though she champions other causes, especially education.
Katie Couric (1952- ). Was 48 when she began her crusade against colon cancer (who can forget her colonoscopy shown on national TV), after a flawed diagnosis claimed the life of her husband, Jay Monahan, at 42. Continues to DARE – just ask Sarah Palin, A-Rod, and the pompous cynics who wrote her off.
Dara Torres (1967- ). First swimmer in the U.S. to compete in five Olympics, and the first woman over 40 to swim in the Olympics, winning three Silver medals.
AND, finally, who better to salute in this month that celebrates LOVE, than Dr. Susan LOVE. At 60, she continues her quest, through the Dr. Susan LOVE Research Foundation, to eradicate breast cancer within our lifetime. In 2003, she published the second edition of Dr. Love’s Menopause and Hormone Book, one of the first books to raise concerns about the widespread long-term use of hormone therapy.
For all women who have suffered from breast cancer and survived, and for all those who have LOVED and lost them, we are grateful for Dr. Susan Love, for what she does for LOVE.