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.  

Now Ladywomen as a generation are reaching retirement with a monthly Social Security check that provides no security at all.  

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. 

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:  

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.  


1 comment:

  1. Wow.
    Thank-you for spelling it out so perfectly.
    I was first attracted to your blog because as I approach my 69th birthday I did a Google search "born in 1945."
    As I read further on your blog I recognized the pattern of life's similarity we share. WE, meaning not just you and I,but the other women I notice all over the places I get out to ( when I venture out!). They (we) are everywhere. People recognize us as what we are and ignore us. People ignore us because they do not perceive of our having any power. The usual social lubricants that make interchanges with other people possible are money, status, physical attractiveness and position of power. An old man is more able to attract some social interchange with a young woman than an old woman is able. I was really surprised by this as I experienced it and observed it. I've accepted and understand it now AND, THAT has become my power base; the understanding and quiet resignation that some things probably are NOT going to change before I die and I don't have the energy to rail against it anymore. What is, is.
    So the goal is no longer an outward and social success/approval, but an internal peace and wisdom. That being said, I would not complain or discourage YOU to rail against these universal problems that babyboomer women are experiencing. If you have the energy and spirit, I salute you and encourage you...keep going and good luck.
    If I am not mistaken, there were not many people born in 1945...and a higher rate of "illegitimate" births because of so many men leaving in 1944 they weren't't here to procreation, or they did procreate as a possible last act of lovemaking before going to the south pacific war ... There may be some comparisons between women born in 1945 and 1962, but not many. Baby boomers were not born until 1946...9 months after the end if the war. A whole different ball game.
    Name withheld by request
    ( a LADY WOMAN)
    Flagstaff AZ

    NOTE: TO comment email Kay at cityofangelslady @ yahoo . com


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