'There was some hard times in there': women in the Queensland coal mines

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Title 'There was some hard times in there': women in the Queensland coal mines
Author Murray, Georgina; Peetz, David Robert
Publication Title The history of labour relations in Queensland from 1859 to 2009 Conference
Editor Professor Bradley Bowden & Dr Cameron Allen
Year Published 2009
Place of publication Brisbane, Australia
Publisher Department of Justice and Attorney-General
Abstract The first handful of women began working in Queensland coal mines in 1979, as labourers, in what was seen by some as a public relations exercise rather than a genuine willingness to embrace equal opportunity. Our paper reports on the changing situation of women miners since this period, based on interviews of 22 of these women mining workers recorded between 2006 and 2009. Some women became miners because of the money, some did it because they could not survive in the city on working women's wages with children, some did it because their fathers, grandfathers and brothers were in the mines first and lit their way; others did it because they were left stranded by divorce and separations in company towns. Today women can be found in all mining positions: from the wash plants through to drag lines, from driving trucks that carry up to three hundred tonnes of dirt in open cut mines to the few working underground. Some believe the enthusiasm of certain mining companies for women workers is part of an effort to change, undermine, or avoid the union culture of mines. But women still represent only a small portion of the workforce. They have supported unions whilst resisting the legacy of a traditional, masculine industry culture, and confronted the slowness of organisations and individuals to adapt to change. Even amongst women, views are divided as to whether women should work in the mines. There are stories from some women who adapted fairly quickly to work on the mines – or who made the mines adapt to them. There are other stories of harassment and remarkable stories of persistence and bravery in the face of major obstacles.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Publisher URI http://www.justice.qld.gov.au/
Copyright Statement Copyright remains with the authors 2009. The attached file is posted here with permission of the copyright owners for your personal use only. No further distribution permitted. For information about this conference please refer to the publisher's website or contact the authors.
Conference name History of labour relations in Queensland from 1859 to 2009 Conference
Location Brisbane
Date From 2009-12-11
Date To 2009-12-11
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10072/29946
Date Accessioned 2009-12-10
Language en_AU
Research Centre Centre for Work, Organisation and Wellbeing
Faculty Faculty of Humanities and Social Science
Subject Feminist Theory; Urban Sociology and Community Studies
Publication Type Conference Publications (Full Written Paper - Refereed)
Publication Type Code e1

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