Retiring But Not Shy-A new book edited by Ellen Cole and Mary Gergen

Retiring But Not Shy: Feminist Psychologists Create their Post-Careers (Cole & Gergen, 2012).

A review by Ellen Cole
adapted from the Feminist Psychologist Newsletter

This, of course, cannot be an objective book review. What I want to give you, however, is a sense of the vigor and the excitement, on the one hand, and the complexity, on the other, represented by “our” authors when they describe or envision their “retiring” lives. The chapter titles, themselves, tell a tale. Janis Sanchez-Hucles asks, To Stay or to Leave: What Are Retirement Options for a Feminist Woman of Color in the 21st Century? Nancy Schlossberg describes, “Creating a Lifetime of Possibilities: Moving On, not Moving Out”; and Stephanie Shields in “Do We Have Any Mustard: The Challenges of a Retired Spouse” writes of her domestic relationship. In her chapter, Bonnie Strickland describes the saga of being retired and then un-retired. Diane Willis writes of her finding meaning in retirement. Martha Banks examines some of the connections between disability and “early” retirement.

In her back-cover endorsement, APA and Division 35’s Past-President Melba Vasquez wrote, “…Readers (women and men, retired or not) will laugh and cry and relate to the humbling parts of life. We can all be inspired to make choices now to have meaningful and rich futures.” Michelle Fine, who wrote the book’s gorgeous introduction (Mary Gergen calls it a prose-poem), says this:
The writers are stunning as scholars and activists, and as a collective they are our Wonder Women. These are the women who dared to challenge disciplinary definitions of sex and gender; sexuality and identity; health and illness; beauty and femininity; science and narrative. So why am I surprised that in the tradition of radical feminism, these incredible women have also, individually and collectively, “queered” the definition of retirement? (p.20)

Who might be interested in this book? We believe it would be appropriate for professional women thinking of retirement at any age; teachers for courses on aging, women’s studies, adult education, biography, diversity, and the life‐span; anyone wanting a gift of life for a friend or family member; workshop leaders involved with mentoring, tenure, aging, retirement; and so on. You may order it online at or email It is available as an e-book or paperback at

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One Response to Retiring But Not Shy-A new book edited by Ellen Cole and Mary Gergen

  1. Lynne Spreen says:

    Just bought this and can’t wait to read it.

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