Book no. 2
We paid into a system expecting to collect our pensions at 60, government have changed the rules and we now have to wait an EXTRA 6 years before we can retire.
This book is a compilation of women’s stories of the inequality they experienced in their lives.
Government have increased women’s pension age by 6 whole years in the name of ‘Equality’ when we have experienced a life-time of inequality.
They can’t have it both ways. We need to be equal in every aspect of life before we should accept equality in pension age.
Our group WePaidInYouPayOut are fighting this injustice and here are some stories about their lives and how they still strive for equality in the home, the work place, the community and society as a whole.
Stories of inequality in education, boys doing woodwork, girls doing cooking. Inequality in the workplace, asked at job interviews about planning a family, paid less than men. Inequality in finance as women were not allowed loans or mortgages in their own right. Inequality in workplace and occupational pension, something women were not offered in many cases.
AT – the first discrimination I experienced was at school. I wanted to take woodwork and metalwork but couldn’t because I was a girl! boys could take commerce and typing as they might become lawyers and they could also take cookery as they might become chefs but there was no way we could take their subjects. this was in the late 60s.
ML – same here , was told woodwork was for boys and home economics was girls,
AT – unless they wanted to be chefs, who at that time were always men.
YJ – I was the first girl in my school to do technical drawing, early 1970s – and I was the best ‘boy’ by far. I wanted to do woodwork but wasn’t allowed (obviously a step too far!). When it came to speech day, I got the biology prize, but later found out I had been going to get the technical drawing one too, but someone decided it ‘had’ to go to a boy!
DS – Left school at 17, no job ever offered me a work place pension. Married at 24 had two children went back to work when youngest started school but always temporary work to fit in with school hours and school holidays, In 1990 managed to get a 10 hour a week position as a clerical officer in a school, Harrow council didn’t offer work place pensions to part time workers. In 1997 I was made redundant then my mum got sick. After all that I tried temporary work again but I lost my confidence. My computer skills were not up to scratch. My husband has a work place pension. I am 65.
YT – Left school on the Friday aged 15 started work the following Monday doing a 40hr week in a factory.. When I married I carried on working until I had children, then used to work evenings 4 nights a week. Never had a choice of a works pension
JP – this was the same for me
HS – I guess I was always treated as unequal, I had one older brother and 2 younger brothers, I also had a sister that was 2 years younger than me, we were expected to do the chores about the house while the boys done nothing, I had to look after my youngest brother from a baby (9 yrs age difference) the worst bit was when I was 14 my dad had a heart attack and I was told I had to leave school and get a job as my elder brother was going to college, I was unable to enrol into a pension scheme until 1982, 5 years after starting at the company, males could join straight away
BB – I left school Friday started work Saturday age 15 had my first child at 21 stayed home until ,3 child went to school .No free child care, worked and was not allowed to pay into pension as was part time until 1990s Cared for parents and elderly aunt .Retired due to bullying from male boss at 58 .Expected to receive pension at 60. Breast cancer diagnosed at 59 .No equality for me .
AT – I also remember my male cousin laughing when he told me he paid more tax a week than I received as a full time wage in my first job!
JK – When I went to see the careers advisor and told them I really wanted to be an astronaut so what O and A levels would I need…. They laughed at me and told me I should think about office work instead… I’m afraid I gave up then and didn’t stay on after my O levels…
VC – Such sad stories, I’m bitter that I’ve had to wait over 5 years for my pension, but at least I’m in a job that pays a private pension & still able to work at the moment
MRM – I wanted to go to technical college for cooking but my mum said Marie for all your wants you have to work for a wage to help in the home she couldn’t afford me in a miners wage my dad to let me be wage free so factory work slave labour time and motion etc.
HB – The difference between men and women …my partner joined the army then county council at a school and conductor northern rail all with private pensions …..my path sewing machinist ..shop
worker ..cleaner ..no private pensions at all .totally reliant on state pension if I ever get it ..grrrr …..
LO – At school I was taught to make sure you had house was clean and dinner was ready table was set ( even if it wasn’t ready) office job at 15 from leaving school my mum had all my wages I just got some spending money at home I was oldest had to do all the cleaning washing up my brothers didn’t no extra education offered as I wasn’t in the A class left office went on peace work in the mill tripled my wages, got married at 18 struggled but we survived had a son no help from government no family Allowance till my second son 3 years later had an evening job in biscuit factory 4 hrs in an evening husband home to watch kids. 3rd son born 2 years later downs syndrome life was tough then was told when he was born he was a type of mongoloid!!!!!scared me to death not much support around then just got on with things, still working school run shopping, housework, washing, all the jobs washing nappies, no such luxury as disposable in the seventies. I have never been able to have a normal 9/5 job as I’ve had to care for my son. I have missed out on workmates and all that goes with it because of my caring roll getting a measly few pounds carers allowance, my older 2 are married with families my youngest son is 39 I still care for him at home life is more restrictive as he has several ongoing health issues, lastly been diagnosed with dementia Alzheimer’s @38 poor guy has never asked for nothing in his life and he has suffered so much. I will be 65 in June been caring 39 years due to get my long overdue pension in march 2020.when I will loose my carers allowance but will still be caring it gets harder every year it’s like having a 39 year old 2 year old!!! now we pay all his contributions for 2 carers that work 7 hours a week each to give me a break! It’s just getting ridiculous all these changes going on the government are targeting the wrong people here I could do with someone to look after me but not so lucky because I’m Craig’s mum I care unconditionally out of love saving multi millions £ along with the other Carers in UK. feeling totally let down no life for myself even though I have severe arthritis both knees can’t walk some days. but still got to carry on. wonder what the future holds.
CB – school holidays with a permit in a department store at 15, left school on. Friday started work as an insurance clerk full time on the Monday 1973, worked full time got married in 1977 had my first child in 1980, had 6 months off maternity leave, reduced salary no pension, signed married women’s full stamp in 1977 for a full state pension at 60. Couldn’t cope working full time with a two hour daily commute and a child, childcare was unaffordable had to rely on my mother, had to give it up and took part time jobs locally, had another child in 1985 had to leave my job as didn’t qualify for the right to return to work or maternity as didn’t earn enough. Never any pensions until I went back yo work party time in 1987 and worked full time from 1990 in different jobs all finance related. Opted out of SERPS and opened a Stakeholder Pension but employers didn’t contribute and I tried to save a bit myself, that was cashed in to help reduce our mortgage when the Endowment Policies crashed leaving millions in negative equity. Worked full time since for small businesses that never had pension schemes until the Government brought in auto enrolment in 2016, not enough time for me to build a pension at 5% for the next 4 years. I have list two years of state pension so far and continue to work in poor health. All in the name of equality. We have Menopause health implications between age 51-70 as well to deal with Men don’t have those considerations so where is equality there. I will have paid NI for 50 years when I retire at 66. Gross injustice
JK – When I went for an interview for a job in 1976 I was asked “I see by the ring on your finger that you are engaged. When do you plan on getting married and starting a family?”….
AT – that’s why we were never taken seriously! we were expected to give up jobs when we married and had kids so there would be no point in giving us a proper job!
JK – Angie Turner, and never in contention for promotion. I had a female boss who told me that a male could get promotion anytime, but a woman wasn’t ready until she was 30….I was 22 at that time…and in the Civil Service
BN – I have Dyspraxia and, although I passed the eleven plus, the education system was not designed to support dyspraxic students in those days so I left school at age 15 and went straight to
work, full time, as a junior clerk for £5.00 per week. I eventually worked in the caring profession and, having gained qualifications at evening classes and via the Open University, eventually worked in management, where I was definitely paid less than my male colleagues and have no recollection of being offered a private pension.
JT – I left school on the Friday started work on the Monday ,had my children but still worked has my mom was my childminder ,have always worked ,we had to then didn’t get the handouts what they get today .
KP – me too
BL – I also left school on the Friday and started work on the Monday age 15.
BT – Left school on Friday aged 15, started work on following Monday. Worked full time for 10 years, left to have 1st child, no childcare except family and friends, jobs weren’t kept open like they are now, worked part-time, had 2nd child, worked around children through their schooling, then full time ’til age 59, made redundant twice now self employed as Avon sales leader to bridge gap ’til 66, love it and lucky to be in fairly good health but long hours, because Govt. underhand tactics mean I have to work ’til 66 whether I want to or not.
LM – Left school in 1971 aged 15 worked from the following Monday 42.5 hr week in offices, a lad started same day, same age, he got £10 a week I got £7 same job.
I wanted to be a nurse so I had to do O levels at night school after my 42.5 hrs to get the qualifications. Mum took half my pay for board, the remainder was for bus fares and lunches. I was sacked from a company in 1979 when I told my boss I was pregnant, because he didn’t want mums working for him!
Trained and qualified as a nurse but had to work permanent nights for hubby and I to share child care (3 children) to give them holidays and hobbies I also worked all the bank holidays and days over Xmas and new year.
Joined work pension in 2010 (should have retired at 60 in 2016)
My private pension is £75 a month…pays for my hair/foils doing LOL.
Aged 63, lots of health and mobility probs but 3 more long years to work yet..will have 51 years in by the time I retire, if I can get that far.
HD – I wanted to go to art college. I was working in a shoe shop on Saturdays and they needed someone full time. Earned £6.00 a week and had to give my mum £3.00. New shop and I redesigned the stock room so you could find all the shoes easily because they were so muddled. I knew where every pair of shoes were and I was being paid the least. I soon found a new job in a hotel and I lived in. Left home at 16.
JEM – I wanted to go to art college, but my Dad wouldn’t let me. He said I had to get a job. So I worked as an office junior from 8am to 5.30 – 5 days a week and was paid £9, my Dad took £3, but there were not many knife crimes or drugs. We used to have a cinzano and lemonade and 10, number six. Plus, people didn’t live in show houses. We were happy to have a roof over our heads! An old banger would be acceptable for a car and we were super happy.
SM – I went for a mortgage in 1973 and was refused because I was a single woman. Went for bank loan in 1986 and refused because I was a single parent x
GG – I went to join the library in 1973 aged 16 and although I was old enough to be married (which I was also expecting my first child) I had to get a signature from either my Dad or husband to allow me to join.
ALP – After a secretarial course at college I got a secretarial job at a local firm. My boss was a red faced (gin) ex Sergeant Major who hadn’t a clue how to work with a teenager. I went on to become P.A. to 4 directors.
I left when I was 7 months pregnant with no maternity pay. My husband worked full time in a factory. To make ends meet I became a cleaner from 5 – 8pm every evening. He would come home and I would go to work. At the interview I was asked if I was planning on having more children. I lied to get the job.
CW – Finished school on Friday work on Monday take home pay £3/11/1 paid 50p a week keep a boy who started the same day doing the same job earned £2 more a week then me another thing that stood out for me is when my husband and I went for a mortgage my husband was asked if he wanted me to be put on the mortgage even though my wages were taken into account it was so degrading
JC – 1983 job interview asked if I was planning to get married or have children. I said no but felt at the time had I been a man I would not have been asked. The guy that interviewed me was married with children himself but obviously thought it was OK to ask. Engineering company one other man in sales office paid more with company car doing the same job as us ladies…. ?
Since starting a family in 1991 part time work to fit round the children. No private pensions even if I could have afforded one. Divorced in 2002, again only part time work. Am 63 working 16 hours. Very resentful that I can’t retire yet. Arthritis and sciatica yet expected by a boss half my age to climb up and down dangerous cellar steps with stock.
JEM – That is the most annoying! My manager is half my age. Talks to me as though I’m a child. Pushes all the physical jobs on to me. Some days I want to cry. I’m denied the pleasure of seeing my 3 Grandchildren, because I have to work full time, too. I couldn’t print what my thoughts of this Government are, as it is beyond disgusting!!! They have ruined my life!!!
JC – I feel the same. Can’t look after my grandson as my daughter works same days. My ex husband’s wife looks after him. Don’t get me wrong she is lovely but is spending more time with him than me. The anger and frustration within me is making me cry a lot. This government has a lot to answer for. Hope they all rot in hell.
LM – Left school at 15 in 1972 work full time until 1978 when I married and had twin daughters. No childcare then so couldn’t work, had another daughter in 1984 and started part time work when she was 3. Have been employed ever since (part time although always paid full stamp). Became a carer for my husband from 2007 until he lost his battle in 2017. Already worked 2 years over my expected retirement age. Totally fed up with the situation we are in.
PM – similar to me disgusting the way we are being treated
any other country would be in uproar x
JB – Left college in 1976 worked as an assistant cook for local council. Married in 1977. Applied for promotion lots of times but the job was always given to married women who had already had their children. At an interview months after I got married I was asked if I intended to have a family! I said not for a while (14 years). I left in 1984.
Friends worked in Johnnie Walker whisky factory in the 1970s and they only employed single women. You had to leave if you got married.
SM – It was quite normal to have to leave if you got married my cousin work for British rail on the same happen to her.
HF – Having done A Level Sociology as a mature student (the same time as my daughter!) I am only too aware how the eleven plus system was biased towards boys passing. I wonder how many of us ‘failed’ in favour of boys with lower results passing? And how did that affect our lives – being written off at such an early age? I went on to do a BA and MA in my forties – partly to prove to myself that I could. Got a 1st Class Hons in my BA and Merit in my MA – not showing off at all but I wish I could tell the careers officer at my school who said I could either go to work at the chicken factory or do a child care course! Yah boo shucks to you mate!
I left school at 16 and did a 2 year child care course. Drifted in an out of various lines of work after that and had my daughter at 26. Took 4 years out to be a stay at home mum. My marriage broke down and I was a single parent juggling work and child care (and paying for my childminder out if my wages – no help or free nursery places then!) Got £20 a week maintenance from my ex husband for my daughter until she was 18 and then had to fight for that to continue when she was at university. Never earned enough to pay into a pension pot so will only have my state pension when I finally reach 66.
SS – Got pulled out of school at 15 due to parents moving from London to Dorset, became pregnant and unmarried at 16, put into a home for unmarried woman as this was not accepted back than, child was adopted, because I had no say in the matter, didn’t finish my schooling, so no qualifications, was in low paid jobs for most of my life, could not get a pension at all in the 70’s 80’s got my first pension when I joined the NHS in 91. Had another child in 74 which I bought up as a single parent! Struggled with housing, working, have also experienced sexism, in the workplace, was one of the first females to become a Paramedic in Dorset, that was hard to be accepted back then! Have worked all my life, hoping life would get easier for me as I got older! WRONG! Have struggled all my life to make ends meet, been through years, when woman were not allowed to make choices, choose a career they wanted to do, not be a secretary or a house wife, I have always been the breadwinner, no man has ever kept me….couldn’t get a mortgage back than, but fought to be recognised that I have skills and a brain to be able to do a lot of things men can do and be paid a fair wage for it. Rant over!
JN – I got married 1975 first child 1976 I had to leave the job no way was you allowed to keep the job open for you so was that equality ? You never got tax credits vouchers for child minders crèches nursery’s – I was a head wages clerk when I left to have my children – I did anything afterwards to help financially but only when husband returned home so I went out to work at 6pm cleaning factory work I even worked on the land – trying to get back to office work when the children went to school they didn’t want to know so I went back to night school for more qualifications – I finally got a part time position in an office – no company pension scheme offered until I went to work for BT at the grand age of 37 I started a OP so how do we compete with men who had higher earnings than us no career break to look after and bring up children to obtain a
decent OP the women MP’s should be looking at our plight there never was equality in the work force.
ADD – I worked from the age of 15 the only career advice I had was office work or shop work. When I had my family I didn’t work for a few years as my husband worked long hours and was often away. There was no child care and we had no relatives nearby to help. I returned to work part time and retrained as an adult tutor, which I did for 20 years. There was no pension offered for most of that time. I’ve suffered from ill health since childhood and had to stop teaching a couple of years ago due to health problems. I then tried admin work but that too became too much and I was dismissed on ill health two years ago. Now aged 62 I can’t work and have a pension of £100 a month. My husband isn’t due to retire for another 8 years and has had to take on more work to support the loss of my income.
SW – The only hands-on subjects we could study at school were art, home economics or needlework
JC – same and commerce which was typing.
LA – I left school just before my 16th birthday, after my O levels, already had a Saturday job in Dolcis so I just went full time there until I got a job at Barclays Bank. I remember women weren’t allowed a mortgage from them, only men. Also the first bank manager was a groper and always coming up behind you and placing his hands inappropriately. Yuk. I married at 21 first baby at 21, worked my whole life around the 4 kids, never offered a work pension until I went to work for the Met the last 13 years of my work life. Things were so different for women back then, men always got paid more.
CM – Finished school on Friday summer hold for most ,started work on Sat at aged 15 and worked and paid national
insurance ever since even when had a family, 62 next month,had health issues problems since mid fifty’s but still had to carry on
DMD – Not much “equality” in these life histories. This inequality is the problem and I just can’t understand why
anyone could believe that we should suddenly become “equal” at age 66 after lives like these.
KC – I was born in July 1962. I left school just before my 16th birthday and started work as an office junior in an insurance brokers. I was on £14 a week. No pension.
I got married in 1983. Had my first baby 1989, gave up work for five years then went back part time, still in insurance. I was not offered a pension until 2004, I paid in and my employer paid in. I have at 56 just left employment due to ill health, I have 11 years to go until I hopefully get my state pension, in the meantime I will be reliant on my husband’s pension and our savings. We are selling our home to hopefully release capital and move to a smaller home. We will cut our cloth and try to live a happy life.
ARA – I left school at 15 came from a large family I had 6 siblings so money was tight I did want to go to art college but that didn’t happen ,I married at 19 1974 had my first child at 21 had to leave my job which I did love no maternity in those days I worked at nights to get extra money ,had my second child at 23 ,worked part time after that ,no options of paying into private pensions ..I was married ten years couldn’t work full time as looking after my children I then found myself divorced in 1984 my husband had remarried in 1984 ,he died in 1995 my youngest was 16 ,life was a struggle I found myself ill with m.e. I was born in 1955 .
LS – I’m the eldest of 4, 3 girls one boy. My parents hoped I’d get a good education but I left school at 17 after only achieving gce’s. Was offered two jobs, both admin. Left school in July, went on family holiday then started in civil service. No pension opps for me in early 70s. Left to have baby in 76, didn’t return to work as expected to be a stay at home mum. Had second baby in 79. Got breast cancer at age 30 in 84. Underwent treatment and extensive surgery. Thought I was going to die. In 86 got part time casual job to fit around
school time/hols. Again no pension opps as I was expected to fulfil childcare requirements, very low pay. Divorced in 89. Got full-time temporary job with local council. First time offered
works pension. Got full-time permanent post in 91, with pension, but opted out for a few years. Enjoyed my job for first 10 years but gradually it changed. Very little chance of promotion and/or other jobs in the market. Felt I was overlooked for both promotion and other job opportunities. The last 10 years of working were so very stressful I developed migraines. These escalated to to 2 or 3 every week. At age 60 I took early retirement/redundancy because of my health. Redundancy payment by that time NOT enhanced at all, I got 23 weeks at 1 week equivalent pay. I had remarried in 92, he retired in 2012. We have to manage on his works, and state pension, and my small works pension. I’m due to receive my SP in January next year (2020) our belt is pulled as tight as is possible. We don’t go out, entertain, drink, smoke. We bought a camper-van 19 years ago and that provides us with any holidays we have.
GH – Unfortunately the way it was I worked in admin originally and wasn’t allowed to be in pension scheme till age 24 have had private pensions generally but obviously earning less there were less contributions and lower pension unfortunately lost husband 5 years ago before he was eligible for state pension. Now state pension dies with you but luckily he had private pensions and I get 50%of that.
CT – Was offered a works pension at 52 turned it down as far as I knew only around 8 years to go. On part time wages what was that going to amount to. By the time I was made aware that I should have taken up the pension because I actually had 14 years left to pay into it. Too bloody late. another reason why being informed could have helped me make a good decision. Turned out that it
was to no avail anyway as I was make redundant at 60 and half. Not earned a penny since.
TB – School – separate playgrounds, boys played footie while girls played hopscotch. P.E. Girls played rounders and netball
while boys played football and cricket. Needlework, cooking, typing, not allowed to do woodwork or metalwork, that was for the boys. Left school just under 16 started work as shop assistant immediately, I had the choice of working in a shop or become an office junior, so few opportunities for us women in the early 70’s. Because I started this job in July I had missed out on one year National Insurance, another scam! Had my daughter was expected to stay home and be the home maker, the childcare, the cleaning, the cooking, the shopping, nappy changing… while hubby continued to work, but when my daughter was 6 months I began my trip back to work, a few hours a week, around school and hubby’s work hours, then more and more, single parent, I worked to provide for my daughter, no maintenance, again an inequality, the man can just up and leave and contribute nothing while the mother strives to keep her kids. Working life in Accounts dept, always men at the top, never women, no women in the boardroom except the secretary.
CF – I was born 1956
Late 1970s I was offered a job at an estate agents in Sheffield as a receptionist After interview they realised I had a school age child & they withdrew it next day by post as they weren’t happy with my childcare for holidays ! In fact my friend & I cared for each other’s kids as she worked early evenings, Pure sexism !
AHS – I was made redundant by letter whilst on maternity leave with my eldest child, so became a stay at home mum until he went to school.
Very hard to get back into the job market but eventually did.
Got a private pension but had to give it up when I divorced as I could no longer afford it – no financial help from my husband at all!
TO – I also shared child care with a friend she worked mornings and I did the afternoons we had both been looking for a job and realised that the reason they said no was being a mum or a mum to be. We have all gone through so much during our lives and we all looked forward to reaching the magical number 60, that now has gone and the plans made some promises made we cannot fill. This government has prevented me from seeing my grandchildren and other things but the grandchildren are the most important one to me. THEY have no idea how much we are hurting and it is not just the money it is the time and the quality of life that I paid my full National Insurance 45 years. THIS is so wrong and being told to retrain or how to do a CV for a new job probably a new role. WHO the hell do they think they are WE could wipe the grins off there faces it is them who need retraining. And hopefully in the next election will put them in the job centres being treated less than human.
SM – I was born into a working class family,4 children we never had much money but it was a good childhood never the less,
I left school at 15 and went to work straight away in a Motors factory
It was 1970,I met my ex husband there,was married in 1974 and left my job in 1976 to have my son,I didn’t return to work but went on to have my daughter in 1980,I took a total of 7 years off work to raise my children then went back to work when my daughter started school 1983
I worked part time then until 1987 when I got a job on school meals working 32 hours a week. I then got divorced in 1992 by which time my working hours had been cut so I took on another part time job to subsides my wages as my ex had signed the house over to me,I carried on working 2 jobs until 1998 when I took on a full time job in retail,then in 2000 I took on a security job working 12 hour day shifts,I only stopped doing the security job after I heard in the media about the rise in retirement age,so at 60 I took on a part time job which I am still doing now,I am 64 and have 2 more years to go but I am so ready to retire,I am so tired. I never took on a private pension as I had so many jobs and didn’t think I needed to but I always paid a full stamp (when there was an option)and hardly ever took sickness leave,usually only after a surgery. I feel robbed and cheated by the government just because of my date of birth,if I had been born a couple of years earlier I
would be retired now. I had no written notice of the increase at all.
VD – I was born in 1955, with 4brothers and 4 sisters and the only one’s who done the cooking, cleaning, ironing, shopping and anything to do with housework was done by my mother and us girls. So from birth our lives were organised and set for the future. The boys helped in the garden or man related stuff. Us girls had to fight to be different. My brothers could go out socialising on their own but us girls had a brother with us everywhere we went. I can in some way our parents wanting to protect us but us girls hated it and fought it every step of the way. I hated the ironing and my mother had a mangle for getting the excess water out of the washing it was so heavy. Didn’t mind the shopping because supermarket and choices were just starting in the late 50s. But during the 50s, 60s and early 70s I just remember constantly battling against inequality.
CD – Born in 1955, spent my childhood in poverty. Left school and went to work at 15 because my mother was pregnant. I earned £8. 10 shillings and my brother earned £17.10 shillings, we were both shop assistants. I was sacked from Littlewoods because my mother’s boyfriend had hit me and the manageress said she wasn’t prepared to take responsibility for a 16yr old who had left home, I had a black eye and split lip. I got a job the same day in a sack factory which involved heavy lifting, I moved into lodgings and ended up pregnant at 17.
I had three choices
Wasn’t prepared to get rid of my baby so I married him and spent the next 15yrs in misery.
Worked as a cleaner and part time in a toy shop.
I said I wanted to go into nursing and people laughed at me. I went for the interview with the senior tutor who said don’t even think about getting pregnant or you are off the course, he then said well you are used to shitty nappies so you be alright here.
The women did the heavy lifting, 28 elderly pts to put to bed and get up with no hoists, we worked 12 hr shifts and were knackered but there was a closeness in those days and we supported each other.
I worked nights for years, it was hard work long hours and not enough staff on the wards
Men were promoted years before the women and were sent on courses.
I went to see if I could get a mortgage in my own right in the later 1970s and told to come back with my husband as only a % of my wage would be taken into consideration. I earned £68 per month and £40 went on childcare, I was so desperate to work as a nurse I cycled 8 miles each way as I couldn’t afford the bus fair.
When I divorced in 1989 I was homeless, the financial assessment revealed that I was £7.50 a week under benefit level so I worked nights at the hospital and worked in a nursing home in the day to feed my kids. No maintenance, no home no support. The judge told me that the emergency injunction would not stop him from killing me, the police just shrugged their shoulders and people I thought were friends turned their back as very few people wanted to be associated with a divorcee.
I have spondylolysis and arthritis, my knees are shot at and my hips are on their way after 40yrs of nursing so was not expecting to still be working at my age.
LHB – Born 56. Left school 15 on Thursday, started factory work on next Tuesday. Left at 21 to work for naafi married 22. Worked till I had my first 1st child at 25 ( between 7 miscarriages). Worked farm fields in the day, bar work evening. Found another job so out from 7 till 3 in fields spud picking, 3.30 till 5.30/ 6 office cleaning for the army, 7 pub work no pension offered with any of these jobs. Opened own business recession came closed business as self employed no dole but had to sign on for stamp. Returned to college for recognised qualifications. Temped 2 years then offered job in large bank, did 4 years then into insurance 8 years then redundancy. Worked for another large bank (at all of these interviews was noted I had a young school child and quizzed what would I do re childcare if she was unwell, although this was also my husbands child he never got asked once what he would do if she was ill). In my last employment 12 years was offered a pension but could only have this after 1 year working for them. Had to watch lesser qualified males get bigger salaries, bonuses etc. Never ever been equality for me in my working lifetime.
Redundant yet again at 58. Which incidently was when I called DWP to find out re pension that’s when I was told another 8 years to retirement. This and previous governments have shafted us each and every way. I have had to sell my home and move to another country in order to have any kind of life. Moving and relocating at 60 was traumatic leaving family and friends and having to start all over, because we could not afford to live in UK. I still miss my family and if I am lucky we catch each other 2 times a year. before was at least 2 times a week. Disgusted with all the reptiles across the board in parliament.
JT – I left school and started working at 16. One of my jobs was a temp, several of us were invited to apply for a permanent position which had become available. The equality act had just come in and we were urged to read through our rights as the company were keen not to discriminate. The job went to the only male applicant ‘because he has a wife to support’. In 1981 I tried to open my first bank account and was told I needed written consent from my Dad as I wasn’t married. I was 22. Hadn’t bothered with one before as I was always paid in cash. Dad was not impressed with the bank and told them so in his letter.
Gillian Laycock – I was born in 1957 second child..both my parents had to work both from the age of 14. I still have my mother (87) live with me. When I was four my mother had my brother. She was a landlady and my father worked in a mill. Mum hated pub life especially with three children. We moved to my great sadness to a back to back house while my parents worked and saved hard a sum of 250 pounds for a deposit to purchase a house.
My mother worked right up to the age of retirement, then another 20 years voluntary aged 80.
At the age of 15 I left school and in July 1972 went into a local mill with my best friend who started at the age of 14 years 11 months.
At 19 I got married and a mortgage and had my only child. I worked up to 8 months and 3 weeks (no maternity leave in those days) I had a C-section and back lifting heavy patients 7 weeks later! YES, literally 7 weeks after, I had no we had a mortgage. My husband didn’t have anytime off with me and our baby it was unthinkable.
My mother and sister in law helped with childcare although I mainly worked 6-10 pm shift and weekends so my husband could look after our child.
He worked full time and came home 5.30 pm with tea on the table (how I had been brought up) all house work done and baby bathed & in her night clothes.
Every morning I would boil the terry towelling nappies before
washing them in the twin tub. I wouldn’t change any of that!
I did various jobs from cooking in a private school again evenings & weekends. PA for a 93 old lady mainly 5-10 pm.
While my daughters father helped with child care he did very little in the house work department, its how it was in those days.
I remember signing papers to say I wanted to continue paying a full stamp in my own rights.
Later we divorced and I signed to have no rights to his pension and vice a versa.
I have continued to work mainly full time and also raised lots of money doing voluntary work.
I worked in Social services within the adult care and child protection teams for 20 years. I took a year sabbatical to do voluntary work in the USA at the age of 48. This was 2006 if I had known their were going to be changes in pension age I would’ve made different choices. In 2007 when I should’ve returned to work I choose to continue doing unpaid voluntary work & attend a 4 year social therapy course in the USA. I would’ve gone back to my work in social services if I had known what my fate was going to be,now.
I had to come home mid-4th year (never finalised the course) due to my daughter being ill.
I got two jobs, both care work within weeks of returning home 2013.
I have been ripped off with mortgage/endowment policy, another private pension and once again this private pension is taxed due to having to work. Thatcher advised us to take out private pensions to run alongside our state pension at 60!! Now, I have my private pension which was 226 pounds a month and 46 pounds a month is now taken from it for tax! left with 186!
At this present time I do live-in care work because who is going to give a 62 year old a job?
I work from Tuesday morning 8 am to Thursday morning 8 a.m. I am a PA to a young woman with quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, unable to do anything for herself including all personal care, feeding
dressing etc. I use a hoist (on my own)I have her home to clean, laundry, shop, cook, feed the dog and let her in & out and pick up dog poo!.
I earn 9.07 p an hour what’s classed has 8 a.m -10 pm & 10 pm-8 am for 34 pounds! the young lady can buzz for assistance anything from 2-3 times in the night! this equals to 3.40 an hour! and unsociable hours after working non stop from 8 am! Can I do this at the age of 66?
My 42 year old daughter lives with me who’s been quite ill over the last 6 years. She is better thankfully and works part time.
I am the main wage earner and life is a a constant challenge because I have to come home and do all the decorating, garden, hedge cutting, housework etc.
My mother receives my fathers pension therefore is not able to claim for anything other than Attendance Allowance.
My father died at the age of 59 he worked 12 hours a day from the age of 14! he never saw retirement.
My father in law worked from 14 and died the first day of his retirement at the age of 65..the government got his money.
I see MP’s receive money paid in by us tax payers, spend more on bottles of wine than I earn a month! I see them fast asleep …how dare they receive one penny? never mind 300.00 for a few hours to sit down! We would be sacked immediately.
I, and many other hard working men and women who keep this country going should receive proper wages and entitlements like those MP’s.
I have paid into my private pension 30 plus years I now wish I hadn’t…
RJ – My options aged 16 were to work in a factory, be a hairdresser, work in a shop or become a secretary. My parents pushed me in this direction and at 16 I started work as a trainee typist at the Midland Bank – I went to night school 2 nights a week for 2 years to get qualifications in typewriting and shorthand. I hated every minute of it!! I was 16 on 6th May 1974 and started full time work in July 1974 2 weeks after school broke up for the Summer holidays.
There was no option for University as the school only put the pupils in the top group forward for GCE’s. I was in the second group down and only took 2 O’levels in English and Needlework and I got 7 CSE’s. There was no staying on a school like pupils are required to now – they have to be in full time education until they are 18 then have gap years etc – most pupils now could consider University if they wanted to, or can now go into any job they fancied as the barriers to male orientated jobs have now vanished.
When I met my first husband aged 18 (which was normal and expected as our only ambition was to get married and have children and this was expected), our first mortgage took into account my husband’s salary but only a very small percentage of my wage. This was because of the expectation that I would have children and then not be working. Our first mortgage was when the interest rate was 15%. My husband wanted to take a private pension for “our” retirement, but it could only be in his name with me having no entitlement. As I wasn’t effectively earning a salary, I wasn’t allowed to have anything to do with it.
Not liking my “career” in banking I moved to Leicester City Council and typed mindless letters about Council Tax arrears in a bitchy typing pool. I then took myself back to Wigston and worked as a Receptionist/Administrator at a Builders which I liked. I recall being asked at interview “if I intended to start a family” which I did hope to do, but daren’t admit, as I knew I wouldn’t get the job!!
A year into that job I became pregnant and was thrilled to bits as I was finding working full time and having an exceptionally lazy husband – who also insisted I put my wages into a joint account – as he was an Accountant, could ensure the bills were paid. I ran the house solely, including gardening. His input was arriving home, reading the paper, eating the dinner I’d prepared then
going out with mates drinking!! Yes, I’d made a massive mistake, but was now pregnant. My ex-husband was issuing me “housekeeping” of £20 per week to feed 3 of us The amount didn’t increase when there were 4 mouths to feed. He was the epitemy of a male chauvinist! There was absolutely NO option to return to work as when you left work to have your baby you actually left employment. This is why firms were reluctant to take you on as they would then have to re-recruit and pay a paltry sum as it was then, in maternity pay.
I got family allowance – which I was also required to hand over to my husband. I was a stay at home mum and 2 years later I had my second son. My increased family allowance was also handed over.
When my youngest son was 2 ½ I took a job in the evening working in the pub – just so I had some pocket money and got paid £11 per week. When my youngest son started school, I started to work for Bejam Frozen Foods 12 hours a week as the Area Manager’s Secretary. I absolutely loved it but when we were taken over by Iceland Frozen Foods the Area Manager was relocated to Head Office and I wasn’t needed. However, I moved to the showroom selling appliances to the public. I worked there for 4 years. As I only worked 12 hours, I didn’t get any pension entitlement through the firm.
I wasn’t able to get a “good job” until 1991 when I joined the Prison Service, working 20 hours a week at the Prison Service College, as a Typist/Receptionist. This is when I started to accumulate an occupational pension. I started full time work when my eldest son was 15. There was limited family support during school holidays and child care was cost prohibitive so for several years I “winged it.”
In 1995 I gained promotion to be the Governor’s Secretary. By now I had met my second husband who I married in 1997 and subsequently served 19 years in the Prison Service. Interestingly, my husband was a Prison Officer and served 21 years. I was the Governor’s Secretary and served for 19 years. My husbands Prison Pension is double mine!! My very good friend independently brought a case to Court which became known as the “Bailey” Ruling to insist on equal pay for women too – which she won. The start of girl power probably. I worked equally as hard as my husband but earned at least a 1/3 less.
My husband is 8 years old than myself and was “required” to retire from the PS at the age of 60 when we relocated to the north east, with the intention of my husband getting part time work until he got his State Pension. We didn’t bargain for his diagnosis of Lymphoma which has prevented him from working ever since. He now gets his State Pension but as we were forced to move back to Leicester and in the process lost around £70k and acquired a mortgage I have NO option but to remain in work until I draw my State Pension at 66 – by which time my husband will be 74 if he’s still with us. He’s lonely and very depressed and constantly ill as he has arthralgia and has had 2 knee replacements – one of which has gone wrong so is having further surgery shortly.
As it is evident that woman who were born in the 50’s were not expected to have a career, not allowed to be considered on mortgages and certainly not in their own right, HOW can we be classed as equal when the starting post was so un-equal? You can’t suddenly become equal but miss out 40 years of equality. It’s easy to see how the children of the 20’s can be equal to men and see what opportunities both careers, child care, etc they can now have, so yes the children of the future should have the same retirement age for both men and women. We have been well and truly trodden on under the guise of “Equality” when there was none at the starting point. I am currently working part time due to my own health problems. I resent every day of having to work. I’ve done my bit since I was 16.
We currently have our granddaughter one day a week, our daughter in law’s parents both have her one day a week, and each of the parents have her one day too so that my daughter in law can go back to work as well as they are unable to afford to live without two wages and cannot afford a
mortgage. My daughter in law hasn’t had the privilege of being able to stay at home with her daughter and enjoy being a new mum as that age group has the pressure to go straight back to work. This country is a total mess!
One of 3.8 million + very unhappy women – Rose Jeeves
TB – Unlike the youngsters of today, we did have ready meals and microwaves, we cooked from scratch, we used terry nappies and buckets of Napisan. We rarely had takeaways, the odd Wimpy about unlike these days where Pizza Hut and MacDonalds are around every corner.
It was usually down to the women to get up for night feeds for the babies and come home from work when the children were unwell.
But this isn’t just about inequality and men and how things have changed so much between how things were then and how things are now for women, its also about inequality within the 50’s women’s age group and the far reaching unfairness ie Women born in 1953, 7th January will retire in 2015 (62), 7th June retire in 2017 (64) and 7th December and onwards collect their pensions at 66. This is the most unacceptable and unequal way of increasing women’s pension age.
There are glaring inequalities, whilst many of us would accept equality in pensions, ie men retiring ealier to meet us and then move the pension age together would have been the fairest way, adding 1 year to an expected retirement age of 65 for men is much easier to handle than 6 whole years added to womens expected retirement age of 60 it is unbearable for many, they are not coping. Women do not have the option of retiring early on a private pension because of the inequality in their earlier lives and not being invited to take part. Most women are solely dependant on their state pension.
CB – I left school at 16, stayed on to learn shorthand and typing. Started work as a shorthand typist during the school holiday until I went to college for 2 years to do a secretarial course. Worked during holidays. Left college in 1972 to start work as a junior secretary in a hospital where I stayed for 2 years. I then went to work for a firm of architects. At interview I was asked if I was planning to have a family. I wasn’t married at that point so said ‘no’. Sod’s law I did become pregnant so had to leave, got married and did temp work until my daughter was born in 1978. I returned to work temping when she was 18 months old. Husband left when my daughter was 2, I got another job at the hospital (2 part time jobs full time hours). I then met my second husband, remarried and had another daughter in 1985, again returning to work part time when she was 18 months old. When my daughter was 2 I discovered that my husband was having an affair and just before her third birthday he left and set up home with his girlfriend who, it turned out, was pregnant. I increased my hours to full time, moving to another department within the hospital, my daughter had to go to the hospital crèche. My eldest daughter was at school. During that time my ex would not pay maintenance so he was taken to court where he stated that he didn’t see why he should pay maintenance as I was working full time! He had taken redundancy, spent it on ‘personal debts’ so the courts were unable to make a maintenance order. This continued until the CSA took over when an attachment of earnings was made. However, my ex left his job and again I received no maintenance. In the meantime my daughters and I lost our home and moved in with my mother until we were offered a council flat.
I joined the NHS pension scheme in the mid 1990s having been unable to afford to before then, adding AVCs to my contributions. In 1999 I got a mortgage and bought a house. I was still chasing up maintenance from the CSA, they were apparently unable to contact my ex despite the fact that I had given them his address and informed them that he was working. In 2006 I left my job, sold my house, moved from Birmingham to Lincoln with my youngest daughter, and 2 grandsons by this time, and have been renting a property since then. My eldest daughter was already living in Lincoln. Since 2006 I have been working from home on a self employed basis, initially so that I could spend time with my grandsons as I felt I had missed out on my own children whilst I was working full time. I now have 4 grandchildren and try to spend as much time as possible with them. I took my NHS pension when I reached 60, 3 years ago, which helped to pay off some debts, I also gave my daughters some money and the rest I invested in an ISA which, unfortunately, I have had to dip into in order to pay rent and bills and help out my eldest daughter, a single parent. To top it
all off earlier this year I received a letter from the CSA/DWP informing me that they had written off the arrears owed by my ex husband! My daughter is now 33 and I was well past expecting anything from her father! Yet another failure on the part of the DWP.
I feel extremely angry that I cannot get my pension until I am 66. I live alone, have no partner and I have so far paid NI for 46 years. I am reasonably fit and continue to work from home transcribing outsourced NHS correspondence. However, I am finding it increasingly difficult, my hands and wrists are sometimes painful, as is my back, due to working long hours in order to make enough money to cover everything. There is no sick pay or holiday pay but I do this as I can work hours to suit me and am available if I need to pick any of my grandchildren up from school or look after them if they are ill. I would dearly love to be able to reduce the hours I work and do things that I don’t have time for or am too tired to do. I hadn’t had a holiday for years until my sister-in-law invited me to go with her to her caravan where I have been lucky enough to go for the last 3 years. I’m living in hope that the judicial review will bring about a change and we get our pensions reinstated.
JD – In my day in the RAF when you were pregnant you were out
Anon – Born in 1957. Left school at 16, first job paid £9.50 a week. Got married at 18, became a Forces wife so forfeited any career aspirations as moved around a lot. Had 2 children. Lived in Germany for 5 years then Scotland. Divorced in 1990 with no pension provision, nothing. Re married in 1991, another Forces marriage. Worked part time as had no family close by to help out. Family lived in Sheffield. Moved to Lincolnshire. Went to university to get a degree. Too old for a career as younger graduates got on graduate work courses. No notice, thought I would retire at 60. Now age 61, with numerous health problems and working part time.
JD – Yes discriminated against when we applied for a mortgage , would only take a quarter of my wage into account as I could have babies for God sake!!! Even though at the time I earned the same as my future husband, so we couldn’t go for the house we wanted because of this!!
JL from Kent – To summarise, I left school at 17 and was given the opportunity after passing exams, to go to St. Martin’s in the Field Art School. It was the thing that I’d dreamt about as a girl, whilst growing up in poor working class family in South East London.
However after my acceptance my mother insisted that she needed me to work and earn money to support her and my younger sister.(All my other brothers and sisters had left a few years before).
As was the norm then, I complied (although unhappily) feeling I had no choice. I then embarked on a trainee Draughtsperson job with Post Office Telecommunications. Within a highly patriarchal office system, despite doing the same job as the other young men, I discovered we were not paid on an equal basis, we were there to assist the men. The late 60s were a time of many changes for women, but certainly not in regards to true equality, pay and opportunities. We were glorified secretaries, draughting but not on real project works. I got my qualifications and thought I had plans to move on.
I continued there for a couple of years before meeting my boyfriend (ex-husband now). After having two children relatively young, I continued to work all hours around them so that I could still be with them till they went to school. This meant either self employment, draughting / sketching jobs or cleaning and shop work. Living in London, I couldn’t afford to pay my own NI in the early days, unless a company were prepared to pay me a “married woman’s stamp”.
This continued for a number of years where I worked in a variety of drawing disciplines from Engineering, Electronics & Building design etc.
Whilst working in one particular Audio-visual company, I started in Design initially then became Production Manager. However I was not paid the same as my previous male counterpart. Also I was also not allowed to join the company pension scheme, despite having worked there for thirteen years.
I left shortly after, at this point I was divorced with two children of 16 and 12 and had a mortgage. I went on to do a variety of jobs until I ended up in a Utilities Company where I worked my way up to become a Network planner and Team manager to a number of up and coming University graduates. These graduates were eventually taken on to work for this company, whilst I remained a contractor.
Although working with them for 11 years as a contractor, I was not allowed into the company pension scheme and was paid far less than my male colleagues. My male boss made me fully aware of this and said there was nothing he could do about this.
This was something that I had grown used to as a woman – it was almost expected, and we accepted the injustices of it all….especially if you wanted to keep your job, you accepted what was considered the norm.
As I was bringing up two children on my own after my husband left, I managed as well as I could, keeping a roof over our heads also looking after my dying mother, etc.
After being made redundant at 50, (the company moved up to London from Kent), I lost my home due to my inability to find work quickly. I then realised that I would have to reinvent myself. Thankfully my children had moved out and had their families by this time….so I started my own Deli / Catering business with the equity from my home !!
Due to the banks crashing/ austerity measures, etc..I had to close my business at the age of 63 as I couldn’t afford increased shop rents etc.
I, like many other women were expecting to retire at 60. I was becoming increasingly physically tired and experiencing illnesses etc, the last thing I needed to hear was I would have to work another 5 years.
All that I’d worked for all my life had gone, my home, my small savings and now my health.
Whilst being questioned recently by a debt / financial helpline, the enquirer asked how much I spent on magazines, outdoor pursuits/ cinema/ theatre and clothing. I could gave laughed out loud, but instead I put the phone down, in the reality that I no longer belonged to a society that could even imagine that you could afford “a lifestyle” without sufficient money / pension to live on. I was living on porridge and packets of cheap noodles to exist. I’ve been on JSA for the last sixteen months whilst looking for work, and have now achieved the heady heights of part time “zero hours” contract, signifying irregular low-paid work.
I am one of the 1950s women who have been “robbed” of 5 years pension, under the title of “equalization” with men. For years we have bombarded the governments with calls for true equality in the workplace, in society for pay and opportunities – but to no avail.
This blow was delivered…..under the banner of “equalization”, yet we’ve still not achieved it.
We’ve worked hard all our lives, as well as men, and yet in a substantial number of cases, have cared for our ailing parents, our grandchildren as well as continuing to work. I believe in equal rights and civil liberties for both men and women. This isn’t a war between the sexes, but some parts of the government or media like to portray it as so. It feels as though there is so much anger in society today, that generation and genders are turned against each other. We should have had the foresight years ago to make sure that all people were made aware of their pensions and that companies should have been encouraging their workforce, men and women to take part.
George Osborne stated / boasted : “Tackling entitlement costs and the cost of an ageing society is a real challenge for Western democratic societies and in the UK we’ve brought forward the increase in pension age to 66 in this decade; we’ve brought forward the increase to 67 in the next decade and actually because of some reform taken some years ago the female pension age is increasing to 65 as we speak.”
“These changes, when you’re a finance minister, the savings dwarf almost everything else you do.
“They are absolutely enormous savings and they enable you to go on providing a decent retirement income. So you’re not necessarily reducing the entitlement of people who are retired you’re just increasing the age when that entitlement kicks in. ”
“Of course when these were first put into practice these pensions systems life expectations was dramatically less.
“I’ve found it one of the less controversial things we’ve done and probably saved more money than anything else we’ve done.”
Need I say more. The UK has one of the lowest and least generous state pension in the developed world and it has been bought about by making huge savings against 50s women.
PMc – I was born in 1954 and as it was for most of us started full time work the week after I left school in 1970..
I Married in 1974 and had my first daughter in 1978. I was working in an Insurance Office and all the Dept. Heads were men. Women were never considered for promotion and there was no availability to return to work part time. There was no free child care in those days, but My mum offered to look after daughter and I found a part time job in a Bank covering the lunch time rush 20 hours over five days.. This suited us all.
Had my second daughter in 1981, and returned to my job after 12 months Maternity Leave. My job was as a Cashier and we were timed and logged as to how many customers we served. This was constant keyboard work. Our Supervisor was a Male, and we all felt awkward and embarrassed asking to go to the toilet, as he had to arrange till cover .. so unless like myself on a heavy period, and just told him I was going and to hell with the queue. we often worked right through are 4 hr stint. No health and Safety then to monitor us. we didn’t even get a coffee break.
FULL time workers were eligible for a staff rate Mortgage. .. a guaranteed low rate. and membership into the Pension Scheme.
When my circumstances changed with Divorce in 1994 I applied for a full time position. and Yippee joined the Pension Scheme and got staff Rate on my existing Mortgage NOBODY explained OPTING OUT. I thought it was a perk of the job. How Foolish.
I had to finish at the bank in 1991 due to developing RSI. Repetitive Strain. and I withdrew my Pension. £160 a month . No compensation as my superiors in Head Office said it didn’t exist… they even sent me to see their recommended Specialist who confirmed my condition.. They even argued with his report. then conveniently lost all record of me ever having suffered with this. but at 58 I thought only two years to go.. WRONG!!!!
My new hubby and myself began Fostering and as Self Employed I filed my Tax Ret and Paid my NI. all above board through an accountant.
As my hubby is twelve yrs older than me, we had decided that we would retire when he became 70. and our last long term placement reached 18
At the job Centre I was told I had enough 42 yrs Ni for a FULL pension. but because over that last yr I didn’t earn enough to pay my NI. I was not entitled to JSA.
I am now a kept woman, we are living on Hubbies Pension and had to downsize our family home to release some capital, to soften the blow of being ROBBED of almost £42,000.
SC – Hi I was born in 1955 I left school a week after my 15th birthday I had no career advise worked in a factory for 8 months then an office till 18. Left home moved to London for 5 years was never offered a private pension. Back home 23 I had a private pension from the Halifax for 12 years. Had a baby at 34 got cancer couldn’t work full time so had to stop. Since then have worked occasionally for an agency. On and off depression till now. My husband is 7 years younger than me his health is not good. I should have had my pension 4 years ago. Makes me so angry. I feel like I’ve been robbed.
CD – Born in 1955, spent my childhood in poverty. Left school and went to work at 15 because my mother was pregnant. I earned £8. 10 shillings and my brother earned £17.10 shillings, we were
both shop assistants. I was sacked from Littlewoods because my mother’s boyfriend had hit me and the manageress said she wasn’t prepared to take responsibility for a 16yr old who had left home, I had a black eye and split lip. I got a job the same day in a sack factory which involved heavy lifting, I moved into lodgings and ended up pregnant at 17. I had three choices Abortion Adoption Marry him Wasn’t prepared to get rid of my baby so I married him and spent the next 15yrs in misery. Worked as a cleaner and part time in a toy shop. I said I wanted to go into nursing and people laughed at me. I went for the interview with the senior tutor who said don’t even think about getting pregnant or you are off the course, he then said well you are used to shitty nappies so you be alright here. The women did the heavy lifting, 28 elderly pts to put to bed and get up with no hoists, we worked 12 hr shifts and were knackered but there was a closeness in those days and we supported each other. I worked nights for years, it was hard work long hours and not enough staff on the wards Men were promoted years before the women and were sent on courses. I went to see if I could get a mortgage in my own right in the later 1970s and told to come back with my husband as only a % of my wage would be taken into consideration. I earned £68 per month and £40 went on childcare, I was so desperate to work as a nurse I cycled 8 miles each way as I couldn’t afford the bus fair. When I divorced in 1989 I was homeless, the financial assessment revealed that I was £7.50 a week under benefit level so I worked nights at the hospital and worked in a nursing home in the day to feed my kids. No maintenance, no home no support. The judge told me that the emergency injunction would not stop him from killing me, the police just shrugged their shoulders and people I thought were friends turned their back as very few people wanted to be associated with a divorcee. I have spondylitis and arthritis, my knees are shot at and my hips are on their way after 40yrs of nursing so was not expecting to still be working at my age.
LF – Pension. Worked for a decent company with a pension scheme. Being female I could not join the pension scheme until I was 24. Men could join at 21. By the time I joined the pension scheme I had already been there 5 years. I was made redundant when I was about 40. The number of years in the pension scheme was a calculation in the final payout and so even though I had more total service I got less than men because they had more pensionable service than me. Stinks as usual. I was unaware there was any difference in ages between men and women until a guy who I supervised got his notification through to join the scheme, he was 21. I was probably about 25 at this time and was amazed.
JM – Left school in 1974 and went to work as an office junior. Could not afford full time college as I got older so did night school and open learning to qualify as a book-keeper.
CB – I’d always loved children, I was the local babysitter, so it was natural that I wanted to be a nursery nurse. I didn’t do great with exams at school, I left at 16. I found a job in a private nursery which I loved and it confirmed I wanted to be qualified to make this a career. At 17 I went to college, qualified then started to work in a local primary school.
Eventually I met the man I was to marry and we’d only been married a couple of months when I became pregnant. Obviously so newly married we hadn’t even fully fitted out our home, so it was agreed I would take maternity leave and my mum would look after the baby. My husband worked shifts so as well as working full time, keeping house I now had a baby to look after – day and night (he never heard the crying in the night!)
This continued and baby number 2 came along, arriving 11 weeks early just as I was starting my second maternity leave. I went back to work mum looked after the baby, child number 1 joined me in nursery and then went through my school.
Despite medical advice to have no more children, I found myself pregnant for a 3rd (and last time) yet another maternity leave! The teacher I worked alongside, instead of congratulating me, told me the head would be advertising my job as I couldn’t possibly work with 3 children! I had to correct her on that point. This time though I used a child minder as my father had had a heart attack. So now I was working, caring for 3 children, taking the older ones to dancing and brownies, keeping house, working full time, supporting my parents and doing the laundry for my father in law whose wife had left him. Hubby was a good provider, worked, tended the garden and – went fishing at the weekend while I was catching up on chores! I’m not complaining, it is how it was in the 80s in the
Dearne Valley, a strong mining community.
Men rarely changed nappies or did housework.
Gosh as I’m writing this it sounds like the dark ages compared to how my children live with their spouses now!
Just before my youngest was 16 I got breast cancer and my husband left, but I got on with things and carried on doing all the tasks I’d always done and continue to this day to do, only now besides helping my mum (my father and father in law have passed away) I’m helping the younger generation, helping take care of 3 grandchildren, 1 of whom is seriously disabled.
I married again aged 55 and when my health declined (lifelong working in nurseries lugging equipment inside and out and working on the floor many times takes it out of your back and knees, and I don’t think I ever got fully fit after the breast cancer) I retired aged 60 as I do have a small works pension which I was automatically enrolled in as I worked for the local authority, and a new husband who helped support me. I am still caring for my 88 year old mother and having my granddaughter for respite as well as providing some child care/after school care for the other 2. I am lucky to be able to do this without work pressures (unlike my best friend who has an old mum, helps with grandchildren and is still working age 61 and looks so tired all the time) I really don’t know how I could help my family as I do if I still worked, my pension would be nice though as my husband has retired now also, I’m 64 next month.
Still to this day the bulk of the housework is my job and 2nd hubby does outside, but it doesn’t seem strange as that’s how it’s always been.
BJ – I left school at 15 and had a summer job in a factory. Then went on to college for two years before beginning my nurses training. Never had an opportunity for a gap year as my family needed the money from my job. Also it was a time when the boys were encouraged to go to college or uni as they would be the breadwinners. A girl’s education wasn’t considered as important as we were expected to get married and raise children. My father was annoyed with me that I didn’t stay in the factory as it was good money with bonuses. I was a rebel and decided I wanted a career.
LR – I left school 1970 and got a job within two weeks. Worked until 1979 when I had first child. Had second child two years later. Got divorced 1986, got no financial support off ex. After suffering anxiety and depression eventually got back into work. Have worked in present employment 21 yrs. Due to illness our shop may have to close. I will have to sign on and made to feel like I’m begging at 64 years of age with 47 years of stamps paid because of this ridiculous pension situation
SL – I left school in 1970 age 15, started work straight away. Got married and stopped work when i was expecting. I remember you kept your pregnancy quiet in case you were laid off! I worked part time until my 3 children were at school. When I went back to work full time, the men doing the same job as me where paid more! I got an opportunity to pay into a private pension for 5 years. Then i was made redundant.I got another part time job, because i had breast cancer. My husband was made redundant and when i was 55 I cashed my pensions in to help with our finances, believing that i would get my state pension at 60! When i was 58 I lost one of my sons in a car accident, as you can imagine, i have never recovered from this. I haven’t worked since, we have used all our savings. i do odd sewing jobs, and shamefully my daughter pays me to walk her dog! which helps, but I should be doing that for nothing! Things could have been so different if I had received my pension at 60! I thought doing the ‘right thing’ eg staying at home raising a family, working part time to help with finances, looking after elderly parents, volunteering in my community was a positive thing to do as a member of society, how wrong i was! We live in a selfish me, me, me society where the Conservative government looks after its own and bugger the rest of us!
Thanking all members for their contributions