Denied jobs at Wollongong’s steelworks, working-class migrant women refused to accept discrimination. They began a campaign for the right to work that lasted for 14 years. Women of Steel tells their story, writes Kerry Smith.
Women of Steel
You’ve probably heard The Ballad of 1891 about the Queensland shearers’ strike. You can probably sing Kev Carmody’s From Little Things Big Things Grow about the Gurindji Walk Off at Wave Hill in 1961. But do you know the story of the Jobs for Women campaign at the Wollongong steelworks in the 1980s? Check it out at the Sydney Film Festival, writes Karen Fletcher.
The inside story of a successful, but difficult, 14-year campaign to force BHP to hire women is nearing completion after 3 years. But the Women of Steel film needs your help to get to the finishing line.
Wollongong, 1980: Denied jobs at the steelworks – the city’s main employer – working class / migrant women refused to accept discrimination. They began a campaign for the right to work that lasted for fourteen years. Their battle against BHP, the country’s richest and most powerful company, took them from factory gate to the highest court in the land and changed the rules for women throughout Australia.