A Student Debate on Equal Pay
The following two articles are taken from the Balwyn High School magazines of 1959 and 1960. In the first, Ray Jacobsen argues against granting equal pay for women on a range of grounds. This article must have nettled a number of students as, in the following year's magazine, Yvonne Sullivan provides a response, arguing FOR equal pay for women. Both these students were ahead of us at BHS. However, as younger students, we would have been most impressed by the debate, whichever side you took. At this time in Victoria, women still had to leave work when they married - if they were employed by government or instrumentalities e.g. schools, hospitals, local government, state government etc. It was not until 1972 that full equal pay was granted to all women in Australia, though some States granted it well before that. The articles also provide an interesting comment on the encouragement of students to participate in current affairs and to air their opinions. And remember, in those days, BHS was a co-educational school but male and female students were strictly segregated with separate 'girls' and 'boys' doors, locker areas, lunch areas etc and even separate sides of the classroom. And even though we had many fine and well-educated women teachers, it is sobering to think that they were paid probably 75% or less of what the male teachers were paid.