One Woman’s Story

A story by Pat Broman

In the ‘50s, well before the advent of women’s lib, it was the accepted idea that married women should be content in their role of wife and mother and that the husband’s career came first, with, of course, many exceptions. Now, largely because of the economy both partners may have god jobs and if there is a major move or transfer, both decide what would be the most advantageous path to take. In the ‘70s, when things were changing slowly and women were finding more of a voice, many institutions were finding it hard to catch up. I experienced this when I was divorced in 1976. I found it difficult to obtain credit in my own name - almost impossible to get a credit card - even store credit. If you had no debt and had a sufficient income, it didn’t seem to make any difference. You were a divorced woman, which immediately made you a poor risk. I attempted to take out a mortgage from a bank in Maine to buy a home. My finances were sufficient. However the bank stopped negotiations with me saying only that I was a divorced woman. Finally, the loan would go through if my former husband co-signed the agreement - a rather humiliating experience. Getting a bank credit card was equally difficult. I finally was able to get a Master-card if I sent a copy of my divorce papers to the company. Now, every other mail, brings an offer of a credit card with hardly any questions asked. As you can see, the so-called Women’s Lib and changes to the law around that time was very welcome to me and had a great effect on my life.

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