Women home page
IntroductionInfluential womenAboriginal womenWomen in the communityWomen at homeWomen at workRural womenWomen at playSportBrides

At Work

A woman need not lose any of her womanliness, or any of that sweet sympathy which is her greatest charm, by seeking to improve herself and find employment outside the home. The true woman is never forgetful of her sex, though she may mend broken limbs instead of stockings. As typewriters, shorthand writers, or correspondents, women have proved that they are the equal of men, and as clerks, (let me whisper it), not so liable to abscond with the cash.
The Social Kodak, 17 July 1902, p.7


A browse through these photographs demonstrates both the richness of the Battye Library collection but also its deficiencies.  There is no photograph of that most visible of working woman the 'checkout chick', no policewoman, no woman in a managerial role and no prostitute (or at least a woman identified as being a prostitute). Many of our photographs of the working woman show women in a caring or service role; nursing, teaching, serving food, helping people onto the train.  Even up to the 1980s this is the dominant view. Not so different to the view of the 1880s:

Where does a good woman appear to such an advantage or feel in her proper sphere, than when attending on the sick and others who stand in need of her womanly sympathy and help. Can any fame in the cricket or hunting field afford a woman the happiness of being useful?
Nor-West Times, 15 August 1881

Back Home Next