International Women’s Day sees five generations open up on being a woman in 2019

There is no denying the world has changed dramatically over the last eight decades and the Seddon family have seen it all.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day on Friday, five female generations of them tell us their experiences of being women in 2019.

The Merseyside family welcomed their fifth generation, adorable baby Aliyza Irvine, just last year, with proud great-great grandmother Christina Seddon a whole eight decades her senior.

Christina was born in the 1930s, while Aliyza is getting set to mark her first birthday next month.

Incredibly, all the women still live within two miles of each other in the Bootle and Walton areas of Liverpool – but they have all had very different experiences of life in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Christina Seddon, 81

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I was born in December, 1937, and life in post-war Liverpool for a young girl like me was brilliant. I have had a lovely life.

I was one of nine children, and we had a really close, extended family.

My first job was at the Williams Toffee factory and I worked in pubs and as a cleaner while raising my children.

I got married when I was 19 and had nine children with my husband George, who worked at the Albert Docks. We had a lovely five-bedroom house.

In the 1950s, it was nice to have all these children. Every one of them was perfect. I loved being a mum.

But, of course, it wasn’t all easy for women. We didn’t have a washing machine or a fridge and I would wash the clothes in the baby’s bath and peg them up in front of the fire. We got by.

Sadly, George died 15 years ago, and I don’t go out as much as I used to. But I still love dancing and will still have a little dance at the pub if I go out.

Me and George used to like going dancing. I used to love wearing those 1950s glamorous dresses and the swing skirts.

I do feel like we live in a very different world today. There doesn’t seem to be as much innocence and the streets don’t seem like a safe place.

I see my grandchildren all the time. It’s so nice to keep connected with the younger generations and keep busy, it keeps me young – along with the dancing.

Christine Williams, 61

It was fantastic being a teenage girl in the 1970s, the best time to be a teenager.

I was born in 1957 and, as the eldest of nine, I always had someone to play with.

One of my memories is of dressing up my eldest brother, Tony, in girls’ clothes.

I left school at 16, met the kids’ dad David at 17 – we divorced in 1995 – and was pregnant by the age of 18.

It was the norm for me to follow that path, and I now have four children.

I think women now handle things in a better way, and don’t automatically rush into having babies. They focus on their careers more. But I never look back. I have worked all my life and do part-time work as a barmaid at the moment.

One of the amazing things about being in my 60s in 2019 is I feel like I am in my 40s. I think women have outgrown men nowadays and have got a bit more of a voice – which can only be a good thing. Independence goes a long way.

Sarah Irvine, 39

As a kid, we had a community club where we all went, and I’m still best friends with a girl who lived on my street because we all stayed in the same area. It’s not the same now.

I don’t think there is that sense of community for younger girls.

When I was 19 I used to be a dancer in clubs. My mum would look after Lois as I’d get back in around 2.30am.

We used to go out wearing hot pants and crop tops. I think I loved it so much because I was so active, my entire family are active. My grandma Christina never stops.

After I finished the dancing I started caring for people, helping with their shopping and their medication.

All I ever wanted was for Lois to come first and I think she feels the same way about Aliyza.

People say to me: “I can’t believe you’re nearly 40.” But I think I’m in my prime. Women get better with age.

Lois Irvine, 21

I love being part of a big family of women. My mum raised me on her own and she did her best for me.

Without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. We all live very close to each other and I see them a lot.

I look up to my great nan, Christina, because she’s always out shopping, she’s always busy – she’s a glam-ma.

I wake up and enjoy being with my daughter and spending the day with her.

I’ve always been working, in hotels, but then when I got pregnant I had to stop. But Aliyza is nearly one and she can go to part-time nursery soon.

I love it that I can be independent and earn my own money. I want to raise my daughter the same way. I wouldn’t want my daughter to rely on anyone but me.

I had her at 20, a similar age my mum had me and my grandma had her – but I think things are different for me.

For one thing, my baby’s dad Jordan is still in the picture and helps me out with child care. For me, it was just me and my mum and my nan helped out.

My mum always made me feel loved. It’s what I want to do for my daughter.

Aliyza Irvine, 11 months

Mum Lois says: I want Aliyza’s life to be stable and good. We will be able to do more things in five years, I want to be able to take her on holiday and take her to places.

I want to take her to Disneyland Paris – something I did as a child.

It was the best experience, seeing the princesses.

I think things are different now with social media and tablets. I won’t be giving her one of those until she’s a bit older.

She’s got mates as well, she’s very social. I want her to have mates at school, I want her to have friends on the street like I did growing up.

I’ll be happy with anything she does when she was my age – as long as she studies. I’d like her to go to university.

I want to teach her to be independent and I want her to be herself, know who she is as a person and not rely on anyone.

But, I don’t want her to be lonely, my friends have children and we see each other all the time. I’m hoping they will grow up and be best friends.

I always felt loved and never bored growing up.

That is something that I want for Aliyza. I always want her to feel like that.

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