Over my eight decades life-time I’ve witnessed many major changes. By far the biggest has been the sexual equality revolution, something which say a 20 year old today might be puzzled to read about as they now take it for granted. It wasn’t always that way. For example, I recall in the mid 1960s when the word got about that a woman lawyer had hung up her shingle in Lower Hutt. Such a thing seemed inconceivable and I recall with a couple of local commercial property characters, going to her office address to see for ourselves.
Who on earth would use her we wondered? Well, a noted eccentric industrial building developer by the name of Paddy said he would and so he did for a couple of years before moving to Sydney. That was the end of her.
Today, more girls than lads seek law degrees each year, God knows why as it’s now a horrible career.
My initial puzzlement at the 1960s Women’s Liberation movement was ended when I read Frank Sargeson’s 1961 novel “Joy of the Worm” and I abruptly saw the light.
Nevertheless, every now and again I read something that reminds me of the way things were.
For example, despite my well-justified mocking of thespians and ridiculing of the sad sack inadequates that make up their audiences, I’m a regular reader of plays. The other night I read Arthur Miller’s 1968 play “The Price”.
In the frontispiece was the standard copyright warning, noting “anyone disregarding the author’s rights will find himself liable to prosecution”.
That says it all. Today, I imagine it’s conceivable there may be more women stage directors than men but back half a century such a thing was unthinkable.
The principal result of women’s equality has been to double the workforce and with it the level of prosperity. But an unintended consequence in the developed world, has been women shedding their traditional home-maker role resulting in no developed nation now reproducing itself. That includes Catholic countries such as Spain and Italy. So developed nations’ populations are now sustained by migration.
The coming economic depression will see migration unwelcome, but depressions don’t last forever and within five or so years it’s my pick the developed world will be competing to attract fresh blood with all sorts of incentives.
Postscript: It hasn’t all been plain sailing. For example, an excellent case based on clear cut evidence can be argued that the world would be a vastly better place without bloody women drivers cringing about our cities, staring at green lights for 8 seconds before taking off, driving alongside one another and blocking the roads and so on.