In yesterday’s post about my twenties I forgot to mention some things which also happened in that decade. Firstly, I got my driver’s licence in my early 20s; I originally got an automatic licence but got sick of all the teasing from friends that I was only licensed to drive a ‘pedal (toy) car’ so I went back and had lessons in a manual car, then did the test again. I have never driven other than an auto...but I could if I absolutely had to! Getting a licence meant so much freedom. It was also something that my mother and most of her friends did not have.
Another thing I did in my early 20s was to start wearing contact lenses. Soft contact lenses had just become available in Australia in 1970 and I got mine in October 1971 after working for a while and being able to save the money for them. In May that year I took my first flight in a 'big' plane when I went to Melbourne in a DC9; no direct flight then, so changed planes in Sydney. So that was something else that I saved for because compared to today's fares, flying was very expensive in the 70s!
|This baby rug/afghan was crocheted for my nephew born in 1975 using paton's totem.|
Some comments left on my blog yesterday started me thinking about women’s rights in those days. I gave the example of not being considered for a loan at the Commonwealth bank because I was a married woman but would it have been the same for an unmarried professional woman? In 1968, when I was in Grade 12, one day our modern history teacher came in and told us excitedly that women teachers had just won the right to equal pay. It was brought in gradually and by the time I started work in 1971, we had equal pay. Near the end of 1971 I had to apply for permission to continue to teach after my marriage in January 1972. Obviously I was allowed, but not long before that, women had to resign on marriage. Male teachers did not have to get the same permission let alone resign...interesting huh!
However I feel that my generation benefited from the efforts of women earlier. As well as equal pay, female teachers in the 70s were able to take unpaid maternity leave and their jobs were there when they returned. But I also know that in many other non government jobs women did not have this right and were often forced to resign if they fell pregnant.
The young people today find these scenarios unimaginable! Still I think today’s working conditions with work contracts are also a worry. More and more we are creating a group I call the 'working poor'.
Knitting update:- The throw is now 85 cm long but I plan to spend the evening knitting...