Older women and the Grandmothers’/Grand-others’ Action | Older women count 

Older women and the Grandmothers’/Grand-others’ Action 

By Susan Carter 


Older women make valuable contributions to society as leaders, employees, policymakers, volunteers, academics, community builders, carers, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, neighbours, colleagues and friends. But too often, older women are brushed to the side and deemed invisible, despite their years of accumulated experience.  


Older women count 

From the grandmothers you know who help with childcare and pass on cultural traditions, to the older women who are community gardeners, to the indefatigable grandmothers of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) who are raising millions of vulnerable young people orphaned by AIDS, older women are at the heart of families and on the frontlines of the fight for justice the world over. 

The grandmothers in SSA and those in Canada who volunteer with the Grandmothers Campaign and the Grandmothers Advocacy Network (GRAN) are examples of dynamic older women who challenge traditional thinking about aging, gender and activism. 

The Grandmothers Campaign, which was started by the Stephen Lewis Foundation in 2006, works to support and empower older women/grandmothers in SSA and the young people in their care. Eighteen years after the launch of the campaign, the grandmothers in SSA have become a force to be reckoned with, demanding their rights to gender equality, education, healthcare and a decent quality of life. In addition to raising money and awareness through the Grandmothers Campaign, grandmothers and grand-others in Canada are effectively advocating for the rights and needs of older women and grandmothers and vulnerable children and youth in SSA through GRAN. 


Celebrating older women and the moon 

On Wednesday June 26, you are invited to a magical evening of stories, music, refreshments, camaraderie and solidarity celebrating grandmothers and the moon. “Moon Magic: A Tribute in Stories and Song” will be held at the First Unitarian Congregation, 30 Cleary Avenue. Appetizers and socializing begin at 6:15; the program runs from 7 to 9 p.m.  

In the Anishinaabe culture, the moon is Grandmother and the sun is Grandfather. On June 26, we will celebrate the moon in her many moods – bright and playful, mysterious and romantic. The stories, one haunting, one light fun and one in which a Canadian grandmother talks under the moon with her African sister, will be underscored by evocative melodies on harp and flute, with insistent rhythms of guitar and percussion.  

The event is hosted by a unique partnership of the Ottawa StoryTellers and the One World Grannies and Unitarian GoGos – two of some 160 voluntary groups across Canada that are part of the Grandmothers Campaign.  

If you are interested in joining a grandmother group in Ottawa, contact Peggy Edwards (wanderingpeggy@me.com). For more information about the Grandmothers Campaign, visit https://grandmotherscampaign.org. See more about Ottawa StoryTellers at www.ottawastorytellers.ca. 

All proceeds from the June 26 event will go directly to the Stephen Lewis Foundation Grandmothers Campaign to support urgently needed programs that grandmothers and community-based organizations are leading in sub-Saharan Africa. The cost, just $35 per person, includes a night of entertainment, homemade hors d’oeuvres and desserts and door prizes. Get your ticket on EventBrite or call 613-729-0077.  

Thanks to our sponsors who help to make this annual fundraiser happen: Our lead sponsors – Joni Campbell, Royal LePage Real Estate and Amica the Glebe – and supporting sponsor Watson’s Pharmacy and Compounding Centre. And to our wonderful tellers and musicians who give their time and talents to support the grandmothers in Africa and the children in their care: Gail Anglin, Susan Sweeney Hermon, Jack Pyl, Anne Hurley and Peggy Edwards. 

We hope to celebrate grandmother solidarity and the moon with you on June 26! After all, no one should ever feel invisible, and we are definitely relevant. 


Susan Carter is a long-time resident of the Glebe and an active member of the One World Grannies (oneworldgrannies.ca) and GRAN (grandmothersadvocacy.org).  





Grandmothers Solidarity March. Photo by Maureen Murphy 


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