Publication Details

L. Smith, "Pioneering Manual Tradeswomen Talk about their Work and Lives", in The encyclopedia of women & leadership in twentieth-century Australia (eds J. Smart & S. Swain), (Australian Women's Archives Project, Melbourne, Australia, 2014) 1-4.


This section draws on fifteen life history interviews with women who worked in manual trades in Australia during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Their life stories suggest that, while they did not consciously set out to create social change, they are leaders because they were pioneers in male-dominated occupations. I will explore some of the strategies these women employed to negotiate the pleasures and costs of their pioneer status, as well as the contradictions they experienced in workplaces that had the potential to be both enjoyable and hostile.