Hello, Glennie L Amp here!
Today at Ayrshire Archives we are celebrating International Women’s Day. This is an opportunity to commemorate the achievements of women all over the world as people continue to campaign for female rights and gender equality. By looking at archives, we can see how the everyday lives of women have changed throughout the years and the economic, political and social progress they have made. Staff have recently been working on some of the catalogues and found an interesting careers booklet by the Central Youth Employment Executive called ‘Engineering Work for Girls.’ It dates from 1958 and I think it highlights some pretty big differences in the attitudes towards women and their capabilities sixty years ago!
Let’s take a look at what engineering employment was like for girls in 1958 then….
Attitudes towards women’s skills changed throughout the wars, however it was still believed that they were only suited to certain tasks such as “light and delicate work for which deft fingers are needed.”
As a result it could be said that their physical abilities of women were often undermined when it came to employment.
During this time it was often thought that women had qualities of “patience and reliability,” – more of this than men.
The booklet also discusses the limited chances of females furthering their careers in engineering through craftsmen apprenticeships.
What an interesting snapshot into the employment of young women in engineering in 1958! I think it’s quite fitting on International Women’s Day to gain an understanding into the difficulties women have faced with regards to gender inequality over the years. Within this collection we also hold other career booklets on different occupations from the time. The online catalogue for AA/DC/47 will be uploaded onto the website soon so keep an eye out!