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Education

The Jobs for Women campaign is a significant chapter in Australia’s history. We want to share this history with students and inspire the next generation to campaign for their rights.

Significance

Women of Steel tells the story of the 1980-1994 Jobs for Women campaign,  a landmark in Australian industrial law. It has been called the ‘most important piece of discrimination litigation that has occurred in this country’ and compared to the Harvester basic wage case of the 1900s and the equal pay cases of the 1960s and 1970s’.1

They were the first group to take a complaint of sex discrimination at work to the NSW Equal Opportunity Tribunal. Their High Court victory against BHP set a precedent for the employment of women in non-traditional areas of work and the interpretation of direct and indirect discrimination.

The success of the Jobs for Women campaign was achieved through imaginative direct action, the support of many other organisations, legal action, unity and persistence. In giving Women of Steel its 2020 Macquarie – PHA Applied History Award for Multicultural History, the History Council of NSW noted that the film illustrates “how concerted activism by a minority can take on the might of a large capitalist enterprise” and sees the film as “a powerful statement about the industrial landscape in Australia where these issues still resonate today and have national and international ramifications …”
 
Australian cinema rarely represents the lives of migrant working class women and when it does so, it is almost inevitably from the outside.  In this regard, Women of Steel cuts new ground as director Robynne Murphy brings to the film her uniques perspectives of a 30 year career steelworker and one of the leaders of the Jobs for Women campaign.

In the Classroom

Stream Women of Steel in your class and download our Teacher’s Pack below. In the meantime, you can organise a school screening through our distributor Fan-Force.

Teacher’s pack – COMING SOON

Stay tuned for our free Teacher’s Pack. It will include a Women of Steel study guide, lesson plan, powerpoint and discussion starters.

The Teacher’s Pack can be linked to the following areas with the Australian National Curriculum:

  • Legal Studies
  • History
  • Social Science
  • Film Studies

Sign up to our mailing list to be the first to hear when the Teacher’s Pack is available.