Grandmother Power: A Global Phenomenon

In today’s modern world, it is not unusual for grandmothers to be sole providers of their grandchildren. Changes in society (increased use of drugs/alcohol, divorce, and reduction of extended family) have made it more common for biological parents to be unable to take care of their children on their own. It is now normal for two parents to be in the workforce, meaning that they must seek outside childcare for their children. Grandparents are major providers of informal childcare for young children when their parents are working or in school. A high majority of parents are content with having grandparents as caretakers of their youth. Studies have shown that children benefit from having close relationships with their grandparents, however, when the grandparent becomes overwhelmed with the responsibility of being a primary caregiver, the role can lose its luster.

Grandmothers are particularly becoming more and more influential in their role of grandparent, especially in non-western cultures. They are becoming activists; agents of change and positive role models not only for their grandchildren, but for their communities as well.  Being that today’s grandmothers are younger, healthier and more educated, they are very well-equipped to take on the challenges that they face in their communities.

There is now somewhat of an international women’s movement occurring in our world: 120 activist grandmothers in 17 grandmother groups in 15 countries across 5 continents are fighting courageously and relentlessly against poverty, disease, illiteracy and human rights to “create a better world for grandchildren everywhere.” Other causes include HIV/AIDS, genital mutilation, solar engineering, teaching, cooking, finding lost children, and healing rituals to bring peace to the world.

The World Affairs Council and Global Washington will be sponsoring a program dedicated to recognizing the courageous grandmothers that are fighting for our youth. Community Programs will be hosting Paola Gianturco, author of “Grandmother Power: A Global Phenomenon.” Ms. Gianturco is a photographer as well as a writer and has written five books, documenting the lives of women in 55 countries. “Grandmother Power: A Global Phenomenon” discusses the international movement of grandmothers and their uprising role as activists.

On Tuesday, November 13 at 8:00 p.m., Paola Gianturco will be conversing with us regarding her book and the importance of grandmothers in our society. More information is available here.