Good evening Chairman, council, mothers and daughters.
I have been invited here to speak to you about Australian women and their changing roles since World War II. After World War II the roles of Australian women in society have changed greatly from being the domestics housewife who were pretty, well kept and great managers for their time. In most cases women often had no opinions,and were very dependant on their husbands. The change has been to that of a wife who can manage their time by having a job, doing the housework and taking care of their children.
After the war they were many reasons why women wanted or need to go out and work. One of the very common reasons were husbands not returning from war or those that had been to war and returned in a state that they could not go out and get a job. As the Australian industry suffered greatly from a lack or workers the Australian government allowed women to enter the workforce in great numbers. Women in their hundreds and thousands took on work, some of this was traditionally men's jobs. This kept the Australian industries going. During World War II women made up to 40% of the working force in factories. By October in 1942 the were over half a million women working in Australian industries. Their working hours were long, and often they had heavy working loads to deal with. In most cases these women would still had to return home to do their household duties. These women were still receiving little compared to men who were do the same job. By 1950 women earned only 75% of the male rate of pay for the same work. This started to concern trade unions that women were paid lower then men, and fear that employees would keep women after the war, and men lost their jobs.
During the 1960s their was an effort by women to try and remove discrimination in the work place. This led to the launch the modern day women's movement. This was greatly influenced by such people as Beatrice Faust and Germaine Greer.