Award Winning Video / Look Us in the Eye: The Old Women’s Project

“Look Us in the Eye: The Old Women’s Project”
A Video about Ageism and Activism

The three founders of The Old Women’s Project in San Diego, Cynthia Rich, Mannie Garza and Janice Keaffaber use a multitude of strategies to combat the patronizing, the contempt and the invisibility that old women meet every day of their lives, even within progressive movements. The three women, now in their 60s and 70s, had been political activists together for more than a decade before they decided to focus their activism on challenging ageism. “The word ‘old’,” they say, “is a statement of fact, not a matter of shame. We claim it, because as long as it is humiliating to be called old, it will be humiliating to be old.”

Wearing brilliant t-shirts that declare “Old Women Are Your Future,” Keaffaber, Rich and Garza create engaging and dramatic protests–sometimes comic, sometimes deeply serious–that bring hundreds of women of all ages out into the streets of conservative San Diego. Their women-only actions have included:

  • a shopping-bag march through downtown declaring “Women Don’t Buy This War” that protested the Iraq war as a women’s issue, and in particular an old women’s issue before the war began
  • an International Women’s Day action at City Hall that mobilized women representing diverse ethnicities and ages to show why housing is a women’s issue, and launched the low-cost housing movement in San Diego
  • “Bush Brides” street theater to protest Bush’s “Healthy Marriage Initiative.”

Members of The Old Women’s Project bring their voices and their giant, multi-ethnic old woman puppet POWER (Pissed Old Woman Engaged in Revolution) to other social justice protests in the city. “We connect our issues with everyone else’s issues, and that’s what makes us unique,” says Garza. In their support of the Living Wage Ordinance they carried signs declaring “No Decent Wage = Homeless Old Age.” Says Rich, “Old women are affected by all issues of social justice, not only those that relate to our age, like Medicare and Social Security. Those are very important issues, but that is not all of who we are,” say Rich. The Old Women’s project lobby, speak at State and local meetings in support of causes as diverse as:

  • Justice for Janitors
  • The ongoing fight for low-cost housing
  • The fight against Governor Schwarzenneger’s proposed cuts in services to the disabled.

Always, the Old Women’s Project finds ways to make clear how old women are impacted in these struggles. In their support of the Living Wage Ordinance, which recently passed the City council, they carried signs declaring “No Decent Wage=Homeless Old Age.” They shake up ageist stereotypes. Speaking recently in support of decent wages for home health care workers, Rich pointed out that old women are not only the recipients of such care but in many cases the providers of these services. For more information about The Old Women’s Project, please visit their website at

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Price: $14.00