In the process of researching my blog posts, I’ve spent a lot of time trawling through Google News’ digitised copies of Melbourne’s The Age newspaper for titbits related to Australian industry or aviation. However my most recent find was something rather different – a pair of related advertisements that illustrated the world that girls faced on graduating high school in the early 1980s.
Today seeing women working as mechanics, electricians or carpenters isn’t unheard off, but back then it probably was – hence why in 1981 Box Hill TAFE College state that over 500 female apprentices were already working in ‘traditionally male’ jobs, and invite girls to a free seminar to learn about their options in one of over 100 different trades.
Meanwhile a few pages along in the same newspaper, things start to head into 1960s Mad Men territory, with this advert aimed at parents of secondary school girls by Stotts Secretarial College. What runs the office of today? Telex, dictating machines, print-out calculators, telephone switchboards and electric typewriters? Act now and get your daughter on her way, because no matter what the state of the economy, well trained office staff are always in demand!
Today the above pieces of office equipment are obsolete and so are job titles like as secretary and typist, but Stott’s Colleges are still running training courses, in what is now a Certificate III in Business Administration.
As for gender roles in today’s workforce: I’ve seen a number of women up the front of my morning train to work, but I’m yet to find a bloke working as a receptionist. I wonder how the workplace will look in another 30 years time?