OWL SF mission is to focus on critical issues facing women as they age. We work to improve the status and quality of life for midlife and older women, both within our organization and with other like-minded groups, locally, state-wide, and nationally.


The Older Women’s League (OWL) was founded in 1980 at the conclusion of the first White House Conference on Aging, in Des Moines Iowa. It quickly became a national organization with members and chapters all over the country. The San Francisco chapter was founded in 1981, and it continues to operate as an independent organization.

Watch this 12 minute video about how OWL started.

Tish Sommers and Laurie Shields, the founders, saw the need for a nationwide organization to address the special concerns of midlife and older women. They followed their motto, “Don’t agonize, organize.” Since then, we have created a strong and effective network dedicated to improving the quality of life for midlife and older women, through education, research, and advocacy. Our unique focus is the intersection of women’s issues and aging issues.

Original priority areas continue to be our priorities today:

  • Financial security — including Social Security, pensions, and employment
  • Quality of life — including choice at the end of life, various living arrangements and care-giving
  • Health care — access to insurance, with an emphasis on single-payer


OWL SF educates and advocates on many quality of life issues that affect midlife and older women.  In our monthly meetings and other actions we address housing, transportation, pedestrian safety, aging in place, mental and physical health, nutrition, caregiving, climate change, and racial justice.

We address the financial impact of aging, present educational programs on financial planning, and are very involved with efforts to preserve and improve Social Security and Medicare.

How to survive and thrive in the City are priorities for OWL SF.

OWL SF Structure

We are a local, 501(c)3, volunteer organization with a general membership. A Board of Directors is elected by the membership.

Board of Directors Members:

Maxine Anderson
Paula Barber
Joan Downey
Melanie Grossman
Glenda Hope
Margaret Lew
Betty Traynor

OWL SF General Meetings
Usually the 4th Saturday of each month (Check calendar for details)

OWL SF Board Meetings
First Monday of the month
4:00 — 6:00 pm

NEWSLETTER (Published Quarterly)
Editor: Margaret Lew

Phone: (415) 712-1695
Email: info@owlsf.org
Web: owlsf.org
P.O. Box 170622
San Francisco, CA 94117