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Issue #1910      April 6, 2020


From the Communist Party radio session Voice of the Countryside.

To challenge the right of married women to work, and to accuse married women of causing unemployment and depressions is just an old trick to divide working people, a very clever trick used by employers to take people’s minds off the real problems.

When our economy is booming, all women – married or single – are encouraged to go to work. But when there is unemployment, the would-be economists start looking for a scapegoat and the chorus starts: Sack the married woman!

What right has anyone, to say a married woman should not work because her husband has a job?

Once you start to discriminate against one section of the community, there is no end to it. If today it becomes married women against single women, tomorrow it could be married men against single men, the young against the old!

The right to work is a fundamental human right.


Why do so many married women go to work? Why do so many farmers’ wives work with their menfolk? The main reason is undoubtedly an economic one.

High prices, very big rents or repayments on homes, costly hospital, medical and dental expenses, and the cost of educating our children, make it very difficult to manage on one wage in a family. So the mother takes a job.

If employers were honest, they would come out and defend married women working. Hasn’t it always been to their benefit to employ women, whether married or single? Of course it has, because they are used as a source of cheap labour.

Yet, in an underhand way, it is the employers who spread the insidious propaganda about married women causing depressions and unemployment.

We don’t hear these same people advocating a fair go for the farmers, so that their wives are not forced to work.

The Communist Party maintains that today the majority of married women work mainly because of economic reasons – the need for a larger income to cope with ever-rising prices. However, there are other reasons.


Some married women work because they do not want to see their talents and abilities wasted.

Trained women like to have an interest outside the home, and find satisfaction in pursuing their work in industry or the professions. As a community, we benefit from the contribution they make to our society.

The Communist Party believes that our country will advance more rapidly the sooner large numbers of women, married or single, take a greater part in social production and in the political life of our country.

Under socialism there is no unemployment, and we find increasing numbers of married women working and women receive equal pay with men.

In the socialist countries wives are helped to go to work by the provision of a wide network of child-care centres; catering and laundry facilities are supplied.

Married women there have the right to work or to stay at home if they so wish. Many do stay home.

The causes of unemployment and depression in Australia are not to be found because married women work; the causes lie within the system of capitalism itself.

The problem of hardship will be finally solved when the Australian people decide to change that system and take the road to socialism, as many other countries are doing today.

This article originally appeared in Tribune, July, 1959.


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