Women of Steel

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

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.

More than 30 people attended the Brisbane launch of Women of Steel: Gender, Jobs and Justice at BHP on September 17 The book documents the 14-year landmark struggle for jobs, which began in the 1980s when a group of mainly migrant women took on The Big Australian and won.
Author Carla Gorton at the Cairns launch of the book and associated film project. Photo: Jobsforwomenfilm.com. Women of Steel: Gender, jobs & justice at BHP Carla Gorton & Pat Brewer Resistance Books, Sydney $10 paperback, 73 pages www.resistancebooks.com
The crowdfunding campaign to make a dramatic feature film about the historic Jobs for Women campaign at the Port Kembla steelworks reached its fundraising target of $25,000 with a week to spare. Four days from the end of the campaign, $26,898 had been contributed toward the making of the film, over a 6-week period.
On June 12 the Geelong Women’s Unionist Network (GWUN) hosted a book launch for Women of Steel at Geelong Trades Hall. The purpose of the event was not only to launch the book recounting the Jobs for Women campaign which took on BHP in Wollongong in 1970s but also to raise funds for the Jobs for Women film project.
ADELAIDE Watch a film with us: Class Dismissed: How TV Frames the Working Class on Saturday June 20 at 6.30pm. The film examines whether TV portrayals of the working class are accurate, and how they affect the ways viewers think and behave. Salvation Army Worship and Community Centre, 70 Marion St, Unley. Ph Matthew Buckley 0406 822 894. BRISBANE March at a rally to welcome refugees on Saturday June 20 at 11am. King George Square. Ph Paul 3392 3843. Email. CAIRNS
Green Left presents this screening of Women Of Steel, Saturday 15th May 5pm at the Boorloo Activist Centre Perth! ---
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