100 Women Book Project and Groups

Women over 50 who are pioneering new ways of being


I became aware of an extraordinary happening several years ago. Women over age 50 – from clients to friends to professional networks of women leaders worldwide – were defying all the familiar models of traditional retirement or winding down into ease/decline. I kept hearing new themes, foreign to the way things used to be. Strong desires to contribute to the world.  A rearranged sense of purpose. Restlessness fueled by physical and intellectual vibrancy, long lives ahead, and the recognition of finely-tuned skills and wisdom desperately needed in the world.

That’s when I found Mary Catherine Bateson’s work. Bateson is the daughter of anthropologist Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson. She announced that, for the first time in history, there’s a new phase of life we’ve never had before, and those living in it are literally pioneering a whole new way of being. She calls it adulthood 2.

Better than that, she has coined it “the age of active wisdom.”

As an organizational systems consultant who has conducted scores of diagnostic assessments for 25 years, I  sensed this announcement was the tip of an iceberg. So, I decided to research common themes, priorities and practices among this group (focusing specifically on women) who may not even realize they’re pioneering something new.

I launched an interview process in February 2016 to interview at least 100 women over age 50 who are navigating adulthood 2. With very few models to look at, they are indeed pioneers, however large or small, whether they know it or not.

As of November 2016 I’ve interviewed 100 women. It took longer than 100 days! I stopped along the way to organize broader inclusion of women of color and more women outside  North America.

Their stories are extraordinary. The uncharted territory they’re forging  is inspiring, creative, and spiritually oriented. What they have to say is meant to be heard. It has changed me. I know it will change others too.

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“The same process is needed as in liberation movements of the past as older adults learn to discover and affirm who they are, the wisdom they have to offer, and how to make it effective in the world.” Mary Catherine Bateson, Anthropologist, Author "Composing A Further Life" and daughter of Margaret Mead