My generation

We were young and in love and everybody said it wouldn’t last.

If you’re old enough to remember The Who singing “My Generation,” then you’ll fully understand what I’m saying.

I graduated from high school in June 1969 and I married in August. Why? Well, one reason was I knew I’d never get out of my father’s house without a husband at my side. When I mentioned living with roommates in an apartment, he said…well, let’s not get into that. I don’t think my conscious mind knew I was marrying for that reason, but it hit me years later that it definitely played into my insistence that we needed to marry and get on with our lives.

Fortunately, all the naysayers were wrong, and next year, we’ll celebrate our 50th anniversary. However, so many things that should have changed remain the same. Every time I see women march on TV, I can’t help but remember the proud, strong voice of Helen Reddy singing, “I am woman, hear me roar in numbers too big to ignore.” It’s great to see the younger generation carrying on the tradition of creating public awareness of issues related to women, and many of them are marching beside their mothers and grandmothers. However, it makes me sad that they’re marching for the same issues that we did in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

I remember interviewing a woman who worked for Eastern Airlines in the ‘60s. She was told during her orientation with human resources that her pay would not be as much as the men who did the same job because they “had families to support.” Though those words are not spoken aloud today, that same attitude still permeates the job market, at every level. We know Millennials are living with their parents because they can’t afford their own housing on a starter salary. It doesn’t make sense in the 21st century for such struggles to be continuing.

To all those young women marching with unity and a strong belief system, I say, “Bravo.” Make us—your mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers—proud to see you fight for the right.

And to quote Sonny and Cher, “The Beat Goes On.”