The Red Hat Society is a global network and largest women’s group in the world with 70,000 members and 20,000 chapters in 26 countries. It was started by Sue Ellen Cooper (now affectionately titled The Exalted Queen Mother) in 1998, inspired by the 1961 poem Warning which spoke of a woman who vows to “do her own thing” when she gets older.
But the Red Hat Society Ladies don’t fight any causes other than a woman’s right to have fun and do her own thing – at any age! Most members of the Red Hat Society are over age 50 (the red hatters) but younger women can join (the pink hatters) as well. No matter what age they are, they’re all just looking for a good time doing any number of things, enjoying each other’s company growing older together with or without men in their lives. Activities include going to concerts, plays, movies, holding dances, game nights, exercise groups, volunteer, community activism, outdoor outings, travel, and whatever else anyone can think of as a group activity.
Red Hat ladies dress up in fun and often outlandish “flapper” type outfits of red and purple, the Society’s signature colors. Their “get togethers” are characterized by 2 concepts – sisterhood and fun.
As member Marion Jones explained: “The Red Hat Society pretty much saved my life when I moved from California to Arizona…I didn’t know anybody at all, and now I have so many friends.”
Another member, Annette Pope, of British Columbia, Canada, is a Boomer, caring for both an aging in-law and a daughter with special needs.
“If you just sit at home and feel sorry for yourself, that’s no good,” said Pope. “You’ve got to get out, and you’ve got to laugh.”
If you’re interested in becoming a Red Hat girl, look for a local chapter in your area or visit The Red Hat Society’s website to find out how to start your own!