In Wollongong in the early 1980s, jobs for women were scarce. Many women had to wake at dawn to travel to Sydney for work or sew in backyard sweatshops for minimal wages.
When a group of local women decided to fight for jobs at BHP’s Port Kembla steelworks, all that changed. At the time there were tens of thousands of well-paid jobs at the steelworks but BHP wasn’t employing women. A 14-year struggle began as the women took on BHP at the factory gates and then in court and eventually won the right to jobs at the steelworks.
It was a remarkable result for a group of women against the largest company in Australia. The win was a significant legal victory, testing the effect of new anti-discrimination laws.
“Women of Steel” tells the story of this campaign.
A feature film is also planned www.jobsforwomenfilm.com
The book, written by Carla Gorton and Pat Brewer, will be launched in Cairns at the Conservatory Bar, 12-14 Lake St on Friday 12 June 2015, 4pm to 5pm.