What Was It Like For Women Not To Be Allowed Their Own Credit Cards? 10 Women Share Their Stories From Decades Gone By

Many people's reluctance to embrace feminism stems both from a failure to acknowledge that we don't live in an equal society right now and from ignorance of how unequal our society was in the recent past. These problems are related: The things women recently couldn't do are still often under debate.

For example, despite the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling, which made it illegal for states to prohibit women from receiving abortions, many laws have been passed since that make getting abortions difficult if not impossible in some areas. 25 states require ultrasounds before ending a pregnancy, and three require women to hear descriptions of their fetuses first. As more and more laws to limit reproductive rights keep popping up, it's easy to wonder if we'll find ourselves back in the pre-Roe v Wade era.

There are many, many other rights we take for granted that were actually won very recently and could be lost again if women and their supporters do not speak up. Until 1993, companies didn't have to provide maternity leave, and many fired (and still do fire) women for being pregnant. And in 1974, women could not own credit cards under their own names. Hillary Clinton herself was denied one.

Although Millennials have grown up with many rights previous generations were denied, we're still extremely conscious of how new so many of those are. But what was it actually like to be denied those rights? Here, 10 people share their stories.

1. Tracy, 54

Giphy

2. Robin, 55

Giphy

"I worked as a cashier for a small grocer. I'd had trouble with dizzy spells and severe nausea. I was able to hold it together, and no one knew until my fourth month. I was checking someone out when a dizzy spell hit. I said 'excuse me' and sat on the floor for a second, still checking the woman out. One of my male coworkers ran for the boss, and I was sent home for the day. He later sent over one of my female coworkers to tell me that 'it was best that I not come back.'

"There was nothing else wrong with my performance other than that I was pregnant. I ask my coworker if that was the case and she said 'probably.' I didn't press it further. We were poor and had a baby on the way. There wasn't anything we could do."

3. Linda, 66

Giphy

4. Phyllis, 67

Giphy

5. Sue, 59

Giphy

6. Ed, 43

Giphy

"In the '30s, my grandmother went to Marshal Fields in downtown Chicago to buy a vacuum cleaner. Unknown to her, they called her husband to make sure she had his permission. When she got home and he casually mentioned it, she was steamed and did not go back for years. It was also the 1980s before my mother, who is 82 and lived in San Francisco all her adult life, first wore pants (jeans) on an airplane. Before that, it was always skirts and dresses."

7. Pat, 61

Giphy

8. Karen, 61

Giphy

9. Vee, 63

Giphy

"I didn't know antibiotics nulled the birth control, so I got pregnant. There was no hesitation on my part. He was leaving for a summer internship out of town. I scheduled the abortion the week after he left.

"My insurance company told me they would not cover the surgery because I was not married. And if I was, I'd need my husband's approval. I was dumbfounded. I called the clinic and was told they had a reduced rate for women who had to pay out of pocket. They charged me $150. The insurance company charge was $500.

"The doctor gathered us all together and gave us a lecture on responsibility and shamed us, saying he never wanted to see us again. He made eye contact with one woman and said, 'You are a doctor. You KNOW better.'"

10. Janet, 65

Giphy

Images: Fotolia; Giphy (10)