In this extract Betty Watson reflects on the expectations she had as a young woman. She observes that like most women she focused her attention on getting married and settling down with a nice family. She remarks that things are very different now and that most women of her generation did not expect to have careers but were dependent on their husband's income. She remembers that family life could be quite difficult at times, and she often worked in cleaning jobs to subsidise the family income.

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When you were younger did you ever think about what your life would be like as you got older?

Well, I suppose coming from a family of 11 my first initial thing was to get out of get…to set up a unit of me own, and eh women weren’t into careers then, wasn’t a common thing for women, now there were women before their time, but Betty wasn’t one of them and em, I just focused on getting a nice fella, getting married, and most of the women my age would have been like that, and settling down in a little room, cause that’s where everyone went then, but em, that kind of... and having a nice little family and having a happy life, and I didn’t look beyond that, the way they do nowadays, and the way I would be telling others… to get your career and… you know, that you don’t… all my life, in the early stages I was dependent on my husband, his income to keep us going… and I went out doing cleaning jobs to subsidise the income, cause the income was low, so he had a job. He worked in Dublin City Council, which was called the Corporation then… and the wages were crap, he didn’t have any overtime or anything, in the department, he was on the pavement department, and there wasn’t opportunity, no opportunities for overtime, or that, you know so…

So you had to subsidise the income then

Yeah it was always to supplement, cause I had two children asthmatics so… and because he worked and he earned a certain amount, we didn’t ever get a medical card or anything, so we weren’t entitled to any of the benefits that other people would have

You were just at that…

I was just caught between the devil and the… catch 22


5:00.0 - 6:38.3


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Dublin City Life, Work and Family, Family



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"Betty Watson reflects on the expectations she had as a young woman.." Lifescapes: Mapping Dublin Lives, Item #242 (accessed February 21 2018, 7:25 am)