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“I didn’t want to be dominated”: World’s oldest woman credits longevity to feminism

Emma Morano.jpg

When it comes to life advice from our elders, there are few better placed to dole it out than Emma Morano, who has just been declared the world’s oldest known person.

Born in Italy in 1899, Morano will celebrate her 117th birthday on 29 November, and according to her physician, she’s likely to celebrate several more yet, thanks to her impressive state of health and sharpness of mind.

So with the eyes and ears of the global media currently fixed on her, Morano has taken the opportunity to dish out what she believes have been the secrets to her wellness and longevity.

Spoiler: it’s got nothing to do with juice cleanses.

Following an unhappy and often violent marriage, Morano left her husband in 1938 after the death of her infant child.

Despite separation being very rare at the time, and divorce not being legalised in Italy until 1970, the 116-year-old believes that the empowering move has continued to bolster her throughout her life.


Read more: The age of enlightenment: three nonagenarians share invaluable life lessons


While enjoying the attentions of ‘many suitors’ over the years, the self-declared feminist has remained single ever since, and believes that enjoying her freedom has contributed heavily to her longevity.

Talking to the New York Times last year, Morano said: “I didn’t want to be dominated by anyone.”

Although she now finds it tiring to walk and hasn’t left her small apartment on the shores of Italy’s Lake Maggiore, near the Swiss border, for nearly 20 years, Morano is none the less independent.

She only conceded to having a full-time carer in the past year, and still dictates her own schedule (lots of napping and snacking) and eating regime, which incidentally, is the second component of Morano’s secret to longevity.


Read more: Women in their thirties on the advice they wish they'd had aged 20


Along with milk and cookies for breakfast, she says she drinks two raw eggs every single day, and has done since her 20s following advice from doctor who was treating her for anaemia.

Given that she’s been as strict with the regime as she suggests, that means Morano has put away around 100,000 eggs over the course of her life—Rocky Balboa style.

Of course, genetics has a role to play, and Morano has noted how her mother lived to see her 90s, while two of her siblings passed away just shy of their 100th birthdays, with another making it to 102.

If her current state of health is anything to by though, we may be celebrating Morano’s birthday with her for some time yet.

“We’re all thinking Emma is eternal because despite everything she always recovers, and quite easily might I add, including when she’s quite unwell,” says her doctor Carlo Bava.

“But when she is well, she is really well.”

Lead image: Instagram/@agenzia_ansa

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