Sir, - Whatever about the law at the time (Patrick Ussher, November 12th), Mary Maher definitely had the feel of the period right (The Irish Times, November 2nd). I arrived as a young married women in Dublin in the mid-1970s and I often felt that I had died a civil death.
To give a few examples: I applied for a phone and was told by the company that a married woman could not open an account without her husband's signature. The same rules applied to electricity, building society and bank accounts.
All my income was treated and taxed as my husband's personal property and any rebates were automatically payable to him.
I had great difficulty getting my own name - not my married name - on my pay cheques and bank account and none of them would let me use the form Ms.
As a married woman working outside the home I was often scolded by the press, my colleagues, etc. for taking up a job that could be done by a younger man.
At a job interview, one member of the (all male) panel told me frankly that he could not believe that my husband would permit me to be away from home often as the job entailed travel
On the census form and all other forms, husbands were seen as automatically head of the household and legally, wherever he lived, be it Timbuktu or Toronto, that was where I lived too.
If you went out for a drink, there were many pubs in Dublin that would not serve women on their own, would not serve women at all or, even if they did tolerate the presence of women, would not serve them a pint.
I could go on and on but I think it is important that younger women should know how things have improved and, of course, how far they still have to go. - Yours, etc.,
Ellen MacCafferty, Edenvale Road, Ranelagh, Dublin 6.