How the Pill changed Britain

It’s now 50 years since the contraceptive pill was made available on the NHS. Before that, women were expected to get married young and bring up a family, while their husbands went out to work. There was no real choice if you were born into this country as a woman, despite the changes brought about by the war. Getting pregnant was always a worry, an overwhelming issue, before and after marriage.

So the Pill brought with it more options for women. They could put off having a family, go to university, have a career, be independent. Women no longer had to rely on men for contraception but finally had some real control over their own reproductive health and the direction of their life.

The Pill changed the male-female dynamics of society. Roles were less defined, boundaries blurred. It was a revolution. Obviously the widespread use of the Pill has had its drawbacks over the last half a century but the course of my life – now a 43 year old woman – would have run quite differently without it. Those women that went ahead of me in the 70s, who challenged the traditional roles of women, were able to do this because of the Pill. And because of those women I now have more choices in my life than any previous generation had in theirs. And my daughter too.

The trick is to be be wise in what you choose.


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