Fri, Mar 15, 2013 -- 10:00 AM

What Grandmothers Do

Download audio (MP3)

Getty Images
Getty Images

As fond as we may be of our grandmothers, evolutionary biologists have long questioned why women live for so long after they can procreate. The so-called "grandmother hypothesis" posits that grandmothers help the species survive by taking care of grandchildren and helping support families. In the U.S., grandparents are the primary source of child care for a third of families with a working mother and young children. We discuss the role of grandmothers in the U.S. and globally. What role did your grandmother play in your life? If you're a grandmother, does your family rely on your labor? How do you feel about it?

Host: Dave Iverson


  • Judith Shulevitz, science editor for The New Republic and author of the recent article "Why Do Grandmothers Exist? Solving an Evolutionary Mystery"
  • Linda J. Waite, professor of urban sociology at the University of Chicago and director of the university's Center on the Demography and Economics of Aging
  • Paola Gianturco, photographer, grandmother and author of "Grandmother Power: A Global Phenomenon"

More info:

Become a KQED sponsor

Audio Archive

Episodes by Date

Calendar is loading...

Be a Part of Forum

Follow us on Twitter

Twitter bird in blue

Stay updated on show topics, relevant articles, and easily submit your questions.

Subscribe to Forum


Subscribe to Forum's podcast and you'll automatically get each new episode when it becomes available. You'll never miss out!