This article discusses the Australian Women's Broadcasting Co-operative (AWBC), formed by women working at the Australian Broadcasting Commission in response to the United Nations' declaration that 1975 would be International Women's Year. It examines the AWBC's attempts to challenge entrenched structural inequalities and sexual discrimination, improve opportunities for women in the organization, and change dominant representations of women's lives in the media. It analyzes the significance of the AWBC's key interventions, including the production of a national weekly radio show for women, The Coming Out Show; the provision of production training for women; pushing for a formal inquiry into the status of women; lobbying for staff childcare facilities; and representing women employees in industrial relations matters. The article concludes with a discussion of the long-term impact of the AWBC and the Coming Out Show, which, despite its genesis as a “bold experiment,” endured for twenty-three years.
“Once a typist always a typist”: The Australian Women's Broadcasting Co-operative and the Sexual Division of Labor at the Australian Broadcasting Commission
Jeannine Baker is a postdoctoral research fellow and deputy director of the Centre for Media History in the Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University, Sydney. Her primary area of research is the history of women's labor in the Australian media industries. She is the author of Australian Women War Reporters: Boer War to Vietnam (NewSouth, 2015), and coeditor (with Michelle Arrow and Clare Monagle) of Small Screens: Essays on Contemporary Australian Television (Monash University Publishing, 2016), and (with Justine Lloyd), the “Gendered Labour and Media” special issue of Media International Australia (November 2016).
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Jeannine Baker; “Once a typist always a typist”: The Australian Women's Broadcasting Co-operative and the Sexual Division of Labor at the Australian Broadcasting Commission. Feminist Media Histories 1 October 2018; 4 (4): 160–184. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2018.4.4.160
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