The Red Hat Society is a social organization originally formed for women age 50 and older, but it is now open to younger people. Members are known for wearing brightly colored clothing and attending playful and spirited events.
Benefits of joining the Red Hat Society include:
— Through social engagement, the Red Hat Society aims to improve women’s health and push back against social stigmas related to age.
— The club has few rules beyond what to wear to events.
— Social outings with the Red Hat Society can be as simple as luncheons and barbecues or as elaborate as conventions and theater outings.
What Is the Red Hat Society?
The Red Hat Society is a women’s social organization that encourages women to stay healthy and engaged as they age. It is “all about reminding women to take time to play again,” says Debra Granich, the California-based chief executive officer of the Red Hat Society.
Through activities and events the international organization works to improve the societal perception of older women. “A lot of times, (elderly women are) not invited to things,” Granich says. “Their circle of friends really becomes much smaller because they’re not going to their children’s things or their local events and things like that.”
The group brings women together to enjoy social events in red and purple attire. “As we get older, society kind of pitches (older women) as, ‘you’re done,'” Granich says. “If you’re ‘over the hill,’ you’re dead. What we’re trying to do is to get the world to know how important we are to society and the economy.”
Red Hat Society Rules
The Red Hat Society has few rules. The group is generally for women over age 50, although women under that age can still join. Purple clothes and red hats are the attire colors for those at least age 50, while women under that age wear lavender clothing and pink hats.
Membership should be renewed annually, and Red Hatters are asked to update contact information if it changes. Additionally, male partners and spouses are not allowed to attend convention events.
Red Hat Society Activities
Red Hat events may include luncheons, barbecues, dinners and meals at restaurants. Group outings to cultural centers like museums and theaters are common. The society also holds conferences and conventions to bring together women from different chapters, which often include live entertainment, meals and other opportunities to socialize. The Red Hat Society will celebrate its 25th anniversary in April 2023 with numerous activities to mark the occasion.
[READ: A Guide to AARP Membership.]
Red Hat Society Fees and Titles
Prospective Red Hatters can pay $30 a year for entry-level membership. That includes a welcome kit and access to chapter groups, as well as an events calendar and a website to find other members and send private messages. For $49 per year, Red Hatters can become “queens,” who get all the standard benefits plus exclusive events. Queens can also host their own events and lead chapter groups.
To join the Red Hat Society, simply head to their website to register based on the membership level in which you’re most interested. Membership fees help support the nonprofit organization’s operations. That includes answering phones and emails, responding and approving membership registrations, mailing or emailing welcome kits and maintaining and updating the website.
Red Hat Society Perks
Members of the organization can receive small discounts from affiliated partners on certain products. The International Center for Language Studies, for example, will knock off 15% of the cost of their online language classes for Red Hatters. The organization also has its own digital marketplace that sells red and purple regalia bearing their iconic tilted red hat.
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