The issues facing women born in the 1950s are nothing new to those who are living them, dreaming them, struggling with them, but not everyone truly understands the outrageous injustice, the disastrous impact and the suffering many women are experiencing.
Funded by the women affected by the changes to the State Pension age (SPa) a documentary which highlights the injustices and impact, was released yesterday (28th November ’17).
The documentary One Voice dramatically illustrates the personal experiences of just 6 women who are a representation of the millions of women suffering similar, life-changing circumstances. One Voice explores the financial, practical and psychological consequences of a delayed pension.
The aim of the documentary is twofold. It is a plea for all women affected by the changes to come together, work together and focus their attention as One Voice. Secondly, and understandably, it is to alert those who are not truly aware of the plights of this particular cohort of women, to the circumstances surrounding the increases to, and the consequences of, the SPa changes.
When a woman who has worked all her life, under the assumption she would be entitled to a pension – as a right, not a benefit – when she turned 60, is suddenly faced with the news that it is to be delayed by anything up to 6 years, with little or no notice, there was bound to be a knock on effect. The women talk of ill health, suicidal thoughts, self harming, suicide, losing their properties, poverty and choosing between heating their homes and eating. One resounding message voiced by the women is that they did what was expected of them: they worked hard at school, continued to university, trained for specific occupations and worked hard throughout their lives, taking time off to raise children, but returning to work as soon as possible afterwards. The message is one of injustice; they have played their part in society and the contract they made with the government has been changed by stealth – not once, but twice.
Sandwiched between the very oldest generation and the younger generations, who are dependent on this cohort of women to care for both groups, they are already being pushed by both sides but they face a further dilemma no civilised society should place on anyone. Intrinsically they want to commit to and support their families, the conditions placed upon them – by the DWP – make it impossible to both look for work full time (as Job Seeker’s agreements dictate) and care for the more vulnerable members of our society.
One Voice gives a powerful message to politicians who have the power to change the lives of over 3 million women, it includes personal and direct messages to the Prime Minister Theresa May – a women of the 50s herself.
The author is a women born in the 1950s and founder of the group Three Score Plus.