We were students in Liverpool during the sixties. It was well after the Beatles were famous and had left Liverpool but the Penny Lane road signs were still disappearing with monotonous regularity, reputedly turning up in students’ rooms. Eventually the council gave up replacing them and just painted the name of the road on a building.
During that time the fashion was for long, blonde, straight hair. So what have I? Short, dark, and curly. I was scarred for life! The length and the colour you can do something about, but curly, it was such a raw deal. I would have so liked to have hair like Marianne Faithful.
As I finished university I started applying for jobs. The very first one I think was as a research assistant at the Unit of Human Reproductive Biology. I would have loved that job but the interviewer actually told me that I would most likely leave to have a baby in a year or two so he wasn’t going to give it to me. That was something there were able to say in those days but you’d think the Unit of Human Reproductive Biology would realise that I did actually have some choice in the matter. However I had my indirect revenge: the person who did get the job was someone we knew. He lasted seven months, whereas I didn’t have a baby for six years.
It’s amazing now to look back on how employers were allowed discriminate in those days. I remember at one point having a refusal letter because they intended to give the job to a man, no further explanation. They were perfectly happy to put it in print. I was disgusted even then. I remember asking my mother if she would have been a suffragette, although that would have been before she was born.