Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Women's Work -- A Collection of Articles by Working Women, Pedestal Magazine, Vancouver 1975

Vintage Leftist Leaflet Project

See the end of this post for details on the project.

Leaflet: Women's Work -- A Collection of Articles by Working Women, Pedestal Magazine, Vancouver 1975

This powerful leaflet is a collection of articles that appeared in the Vancouver women's liberation newspaper Pedestal in the early 1970s. 

It consists of four first hand stories and one poem. 

The first relates the demeaning atmosphere of sexism, sexual harassment and condescension that a woman experienced as a secretary for academic men. It begins "Girls! Are you looking for a fulfilling job with a future, guaranteed to eliminate your self respect, distort your value, reduce you to a mindless, servile, lowly blob or a simpering sweet dolly? Then become a secretary!"

The second talks of the terrible working conditions for women (and some men) working as postal sorters for Canada Post that includes even such ugliness as being subjected to the carbon monoxide, headache and fatigue inducing emissions of the cars of management.  

The third relates the story of a Quebecois woman's struggle in Toronto and Vancouver to navigate through unemployment, working as a nanny and waitress, all while trying to help family and to break out of poverty.

In the final one a young woman relates her life working as a cab driver and the many faces of systemic sexism that she was confronted with daily. Despite this she proudly enjoys her work and what she sees as its honesty and lack of pretension. 

More so than many of the leaflets we have featured, these articles are all very well written, personally compelling and deeply moving.

The introduction notes how many unions at the time totally ignored the issues confronting women workers and it calls for the formation of a Working Women's Association to unionize women workers independently. 

It opened by stating: 
The economic system cannot survive without the work of millions of women. We operate the telephone system, we punch the computer cards that control companies and governments, we type the letters, file the orders, and serve customers in restaurants, department stores and supermarkets.
(Click on scans to enlarge) 

When The Left Chapter began part of what I wanted to do on the blog was to show and highlight vintage public leftist election/political leaflets and booklets. While many of these have been offered with commentary to date, a very large collection of hundreds of them from several different sources remains and to preserve these often quite rare documents we will be posting them on a regular (almost daily) basis now often without or with minimal commentary so that people may have access to them as quickly as possible as an historical resource. 

While these will all be leaflets from a variety of different leftist viewpoints and countries, they are being posted as an historical/study resource and the views or opinions expressed in them do not necessarily reflect the views of this blog or blogger.

All of these posts (as well as posts made to date) will be listed on the page: Vintage Communist/Socialist Leaflets (which is still being updated with past posts).

If you have any public, vintage leaflets or booklets you would like to contribute to this project please contact us via

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