Women Miners and Miners' Women: their activism in the 1952 stay-down strike

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Murray, Georgina
Peetz, David
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Curtis, B.

Matthewman, S.

McIntosh, T.

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2008
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53356 bytes

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Auckland University

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Abstract

This paper looks at part of a larger study on women miners and miners' women in Queensland; this part focuses on women's early activist struggles in the 1952 Stay down strike in Deansville,1 Queensland. The research question we asked was whether in industrial disputes these activists, mining women, were passive supporters of an agenda set by men, or whether they initiated and defined their own forms of resistance? We want to compose an historic snapshot, from which we hope to identify a before-and-after reference point, for comparison with recent mining women's activism. This will enable us to test the hypothesis that this older generation of women acted primarily as supporters of their men's activism and therefore reflect the gender conservatism of 1950s Australia. Our findings from the 113 interviews and secondary sources suggest that the hypothesis is largely true, women activists took supportive rather than initiating roles but within this exceedingly gendered culture women were able to create their own organizations of resistance and carve out unique responses to a very difficult living situation.

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TASA 2007 Proceedings: Public Sociologies: lessons and Trans-Tasman comparisons

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© The Author(s) 2008. The attached file is reproduced here with permission of the copyright owners for your personal use only. No further distribution permitted. For information about this conference please refer to TASA website or contact the authors.

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