A life course perspective on the GENdered PATHways of Social exclusion in later life, and its consequences for health and wellbeing

Social exclusion in later life is a multifaceted social problem with substantial disruptive consequences for individuals and society. One aspect of social exclusion is the exclusion from social relations, which is the key focus of this project. Being socially connected is a universal basic human need; key to the development of infants, and important throughout the life course. However, a substantial proportion of older adults are socially excluded and lack the essential social connection necessary for a healthy and happy life. Social exclusion may have its roots in early life, but patterns of social exclusion over the life course may well be different for men and women. Women generally have lower education, more often disrupted labour force participation, lower pensions, and are more often widowed because of longer life expectancy. Whether and how precisely this leads to higher rates of exclusion for women is still largely unknown. Scientific knowledge of the gendered pattern of exclusion from social relations is scattered and policies to reduce the inequalities limited in effectiveness. The proposed project aims to analyse gender differences in the construction and consequences of exclusion from social relations across European countries, and its consequences for health and wellbeing. Findings will be used to inform the scientific debate about social exclusion, and to inform policies to reduce exclusion from social relations in older men and women. GENPATH fits the SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.