'Glorified typists' in no-man's land: the ABC script assistants' strike of 1973

Jeannine Baker, Jane Connors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This article analyses a strike by women television script assistants at the Australian Broadcasting Commission in 1973, in the context of the sexual division of labour in broadcasting, and industrial relations legislation and practices. It draws on archival documents and oral history interviews to uncover the agency, emotions and mobilisation of a group of female white-collar workers who have not been previously portrayed as politically active, and argues that the women’s anger and their organisational strategies challenged gendered structures and processes within the ABC and its staff union. By examining the link between gender and occupational status, it demonstrates that script assistants experienced considerable barriers to upward mobility and were denied access to equal pay because they were working in a feminised occupation. While the script assistants’ militancy succeeded in briefly arresting sexist attitudes and practices within ABC television, structural discrimination throughout the organisation proved resistant to change.

LanguageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalWomen's History Review
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Dec 2019

Fingerprint

typist
strike
assistant
broadcasting
television
militancy
occupational status
industrial relations
oral history
division of labor
anger
mobilization
occupation
emotion
discrimination
legislation
staff
worker
gender
interview

Keywords

  • Broadcasting
  • Industrial relations
  • Labour History
  • Emotions
  • Unions
  • Australian Broadcasting Commission

Cite this

@article{f0eb278a4e60411c834f1cfaa05d6623,
title = "'Glorified typists' in no-man's land: the ABC script assistants' strike of 1973",
abstract = "This article analyses a strike by women television script assistants at the Australian Broadcasting Commission in 1973, in the context of the sexual division of labour in broadcasting, and industrial relations legislation and practices. It draws on archival documents and oral history interviews to uncover the agency, emotions and mobilisation of a group of female white-collar workers who have not been previously portrayed as politically active, and argues that the women’s anger and their organisational strategies challenged gendered structures and processes within the ABC and its staff union. By examining the link between gender and occupational status, it demonstrates that script assistants experienced considerable barriers to upward mobility and were denied access to equal pay because they were working in a feminised occupation. While the script assistants’ militancy succeeded in briefly arresting sexist attitudes and practices within ABC television, structural discrimination throughout the organisation proved resistant to change.",
keywords = "Broadcasting, Industrial relations, Labour History, Emotions, Unions, Australian Broadcasting Commission",
author = "Jeannine Baker and Jane Connors",
year = "2019",
month = "12",
day = "23",
doi = "10.1080/09612025.2019.1703539",
language = "English",
journal = "Women's History Review",
issn = "0961-2025",
publisher = "Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group",

}

'Glorified typists' in no-man's land : the ABC script assistants' strike of 1973. / Baker, Jeannine; Connors, Jane.

In: Women's History Review, 23.12.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - 'Glorified typists' in no-man's land

T2 - Women's History Review

AU - Baker, Jeannine

AU - Connors, Jane

PY - 2019/12/23

Y1 - 2019/12/23

N2 - This article analyses a strike by women television script assistants at the Australian Broadcasting Commission in 1973, in the context of the sexual division of labour in broadcasting, and industrial relations legislation and practices. It draws on archival documents and oral history interviews to uncover the agency, emotions and mobilisation of a group of female white-collar workers who have not been previously portrayed as politically active, and argues that the women’s anger and their organisational strategies challenged gendered structures and processes within the ABC and its staff union. By examining the link between gender and occupational status, it demonstrates that script assistants experienced considerable barriers to upward mobility and were denied access to equal pay because they were working in a feminised occupation. While the script assistants’ militancy succeeded in briefly arresting sexist attitudes and practices within ABC television, structural discrimination throughout the organisation proved resistant to change.

AB - This article analyses a strike by women television script assistants at the Australian Broadcasting Commission in 1973, in the context of the sexual division of labour in broadcasting, and industrial relations legislation and practices. It draws on archival documents and oral history interviews to uncover the agency, emotions and mobilisation of a group of female white-collar workers who have not been previously portrayed as politically active, and argues that the women’s anger and their organisational strategies challenged gendered structures and processes within the ABC and its staff union. By examining the link between gender and occupational status, it demonstrates that script assistants experienced considerable barriers to upward mobility and were denied access to equal pay because they were working in a feminised occupation. While the script assistants’ militancy succeeded in briefly arresting sexist attitudes and practices within ABC television, structural discrimination throughout the organisation proved resistant to change.

KW - Broadcasting

KW - Industrial relations

KW - Labour History

KW - Emotions

KW - Unions

KW - Australian Broadcasting Commission

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85077064952&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/09612025.2019.1703539

DO - 10.1080/09612025.2019.1703539

M3 - Article

JO - Women's History Review

JF - Women's History Review

SN - 0961-2025

ER -