It’s that time of year again

Its that time of year again…..to look back and see what you’ve achieved, and what the year has brought you. My reflection is not what I expected to see at a time when my husband has retired, we’ve settled in a new place and planned to change pace. I’ve become a political activist. Political with a small p because the whole process bemuses and infuriates me in equal measure and i’ve always avoided it as much as possible. The p may be small but its effects are considerable.

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The world of WASPI has completely consumed me this year. My strong sense of social injustice has finally burst its banks and I’m going downstream quickly on a raft with a hole in it.  Following in the shadows of the Suffragettes, the Women’s Libbers, Greenham Common, The Ford Women, The Miner’s Wives and countless other groups Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) have stood up and said “This isn’t right”

For those of you who don’t know the issue it concerns the arbitrary raising of the State Pension Age for women born in the 50s, and now the money is running out and we’re “all living longer” (although not necessarily fitter) successive Governments have sanctioned a steep rise in the pension age creating an inequality while claiming equality with men’s pension age.

The fundamental argument is that women weren’t told. The Government waited 14 years before they started telling anyone, and then only some, and then they stopped, and then they accelerated the age rise. I won’t bore you with any more details, but they consume my waking hours.

In this process I’ve met some amazing women. Made new friends and joined a Campaign. There’s Banners, protests, standing in the rain, travel, fliers, badges and even a Theresa May Guy for November 5th.”The lady’s not for burning”.  MP’s good and not so good. Twitter and Facebook where the Trolls live.

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Now at my favourite time of year I look back on this blog I started because there was nothing out there for Sixty Something Me, and women like me.Never have I found that truer than now. We’re a generation who raised the children, kept the house, worked, part time in many cases (with no access to private pension) were paid less than male counterparts, cared for our parents, battled ill health, and now we’re fighting for the bit of security we all thought we’d get at 60. You can believe me when I tell you that some women are needing it very desperately indeed. Although as someone put it to me recently a robbery is still a robbery, no matter who its stolen from.

But, out of the boxes of Christmas Decorations I drag my sense of joy at the things we’ve put away year after year, the little treasures, the daft mementoes. I’ve put them up, and once again there’ll be Christmas, with our girls.

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Love unconditional. We’ll have a roast, mince pies, and a glass or two. Friends and neighbours. I’ll count my blessings.

Next year, I’ll pick up my banner and do my bit to right this injustice. And if I make it through the festive season without a man saying “You wanted equality, now put up with it” it truly will be the miracle of Christmas.

Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year

5 thoughts on “It’s that time of year again

  1. Hello Debbie,
    I want to vent a little to support WASPI but also to go a bit further. I agree with all you have said with regard to women’s pensions but I have not agreed with WASPI that women in ‘our’ generation should accept that women and men should both reach pensionable age at 65. Certainly the arguments for and against should have been made more transparent and negotiable. I say this for all the reasons you stated in your blog. In ‘our’ generation it was accepted that women with small children stayed at home for a few years to nurture them. In all the feminist arguments I heard at the time I suppose I was most in agreement with the ‘earth mother’ arguments – that there is no better job a woman can do than nurture and care for babies, young children and families. The enlightening part of all of this in the 70s was that men became more involved in this process too. Men were no longer seen as ‘sissies’ if they showed their softer sides (and I have enjoyed watching my sons change nappies and care for their babies). I supported the idea that for happy future children and happy and rounded adults, the ‘state’ supported women (or men) in childcare in the early years. Even those of us who wanted to be committed socialists balked at the idea of state run nurseries as in the USSR!

    Women staying at home for a few years to care for babies and young children caused havoc with their careers. Not only was it a struggle to manage on one income (in our case a small one) for a few years; when we went back to work it was often to a low paid, part-time job. Like so many other women, in my case, working part-time meant we were disallowed access to the employment pension fund (this has changed now of course, but it meant that I lost out on 10 years I could have been in the UEA pension fund). Also, lots of women took much-needed lump sums out of their pension funds on leaving work. I estimate if I had left mine in and then continued in the UEA pension fund part-time I would now have access to a couple of hundred pounds a month from UEA.
    Of course, there were lots of women in ‘our’ generation who had professional jobs (nurses and teaches) who remained in pension funds and were able to draw a good salary working part-time before taking up full time posts in later life. That does not apply to most women. By the time I had achieved ‘professional’ job status I had only 8 years left before retirement at 60 (in my case). I don’t know how I would have managed without the state pension at 60. I had no employment pension to speak of and I was very unhappy in my job. Women now whether unfit, unhappy or whatever have no choice but to continue at work for another five years.

    I would say that in general, women born in the 50s, especially the early 50s, should have continued to draw their state pension at 60 and only with adequate warning and also other legislation in place should it gradually have been raised to 65. What has happened is brutal and is nothing to do with equality with men but another way of undermining women and women’s rights. Happy Crimble Old Fruit! xxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

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