Monday, November 11, 2013
LadyWomen born 1945-60, Gray Tweens, now face poverty in old age
Ladywomen: Not housewives, not career women, females who came of age too early for Ms Magazine but too late for Ladies Home Journal are today's "Ladywomen" though we could also be called “gray tweens.” Ladywomen grew up thinking we’d be supported by a husband and wound up supporting ourselves, usually in low paying jobs, often raising kids singlehandedly as well, as we Ladywomen were also the first of the “single mom” phenomenon.
Now as I become an old lady, my suspicions are confirmed, women from my generation, born 1945 to 62 or so, are facing poverty in unprecedented numbers, just because of the quirky period of time in which we happened to be born.
When I grew up, women went to college mostly to get what we called an M-R-S degree, as in you went to college to land a good husband and become a Mrs. Girls were not even steered into higher math class until the late 1960s.
As I look around my senior complex, the women who stayed with their husbands, mostly in their seventies and older, live well now, even though they never really held a job of any note. Now my generation is beginning to enter the senior housing population. And in the lower rent senior complexes, we are all broke women. In no way am I saying women today would have been better off as housewives, but we Ladywomen got caught in the middle.
Now Ladywomen as a generation are reaching retirement with a monthly Social Security check that provides no security at all.
It's only females born 1945 to 1961 who fall into this Ladywoman category. If you were born earlier, you probably ended up in a traditional marriage, and today in retirement you are living on your husband’s pension If you were born later, you probably were encouraged to plan for college and a career from the start.
It's just us, members of this lucky demographic born at the tail end of the Baby Boom who are now the Ladywomen. We get to be the topic demographic in current poverty studies.
Ladywomen may have been the first to get politicized by Gloria Steinem et al, but unfortunately we did not end up with the same earning capacity that women who are benefiting from the women’s revolution of the 1970s have today.
I did not even go to college until I was 26 years old in 1975, soon after Ms. Magazine’s first issue came out, as it happens. In fact I saved that first issue of Ms., and in the early eighties when I was living in Houston, I went to see Steinem speak and had her autograph my copy. I have carried that magazine with me all these years, wrapped in plastic wrap, in fact it is near me now in a box I brought from Chicago: Volume 1 number 1 of Ms. Magazine autographed by Gloria Steinem herself.
I’d sell it if it would help me pay next month’s rent.
Posted by Kay Ebeling,
producer of City of Angels Blog
since January 2007
Related article in AlterNet today:
Unless Social SecurityIs Expanded with Increased Funding, We Face An Unprecedented Crisis of Millionsof Baby Boomers In Poverty
The way The USA is set up, if you work as a professional from age 22 to 65 or so, you will have a good amount of cash in your Social Security and a comfortable retirement.
But most women in my age range, Ladywomen like me, kind of backed into feminism and career opportunities.
Also our husbands were free to leave marriages for the first time in western civilization history, and they did. So a lot of us Ladywomen are now arriving at the age where we have nothing to rely on but Social Security and there is literally almost nothing there.
We are the Ladywomen and we need to be heard.