Australian Women's Register

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Jobs for Women Campaigns

Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia


The first Jobs for Women Campaign in Wollongong, New South Wales commenced during the early 1970s. At the time mining companies of the area traditionally employed men. The women of Wollongong campaigned for the right to be employed in the steelworker positions at Australian Iron and Steel, a subsidiary of BHP. During the campaign women chained themselves to the fences of the steelworks, distributed leaflets and dressed as men to complete a shift. The campaign set a precedent for the employment of women in all non-traditional areas of work, when BHP commenced employing women in the industry.

The economic circumstances of the 1980s made the women launch the Jobs for Women Action Campaign. Once again they circulated leaflets – in six languages, established a "Tent Embassy," appealed to the NSW Counsellor for Equal Opportunity and won a court case under the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act.

Sources used to compile this entry: 'The women of Wollongong', in Deveson, Anne (ed.), Faces of change, ABC/Fontana, Sydney, 1984, pp. 151-169; 'Sally Bowen', in Fox, Len (ed.), Australians on the left, Len Fox, Potts Point, NSW, 1996, pp. 191-197; '.

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Anne Heywood

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