WOMEN OF STEEL is the inspiring story of a landmark struggle in Australia’s industrial and political history.
In the 1980s, 34 mostly migrant, unemployed women took on Australia’s biggest corporation, Broken Hill Propriety (BHP) in a David and Goliath struggle known as the “Jobs for Women” campaign, and won.
After nine years of campaigning, including street marches, a tent embassy, community education and alliance building, and legal action, the women won a sex discrimination case against BHP that led to hundreds of women being employed at its Port Kembla steelworks in Wollongong. BHP was later forced to pay significant compensation to the women for direct and indirect discrimination.
Former Sex Discrimination Commissioner Sue Walpole described the case as “the most important piece of discrimination litigation that has occurred in this country”.
BHP mobilised huge resources to try to block and then overturn the women’s victories every step of the way. In this book, women involved in the campaign speak about why and how they fought so hard, for so long and against such odds to win jobs and justice.
Their words are an inspiration and full of lessons for all those campaigning for women’s rights and against corporate greed today.