In pursuit of Union leadership: Mary Bluett and Susan Hopgood and the Victorian Secondary Teachers Association, 1973-95
Francis, R. (2013). In Pursuit of Union Leadership : Mary Bluett and Susan Hopgood and the Victorian Secondary Teachers Association, 1973-95. Labour History, (104), 131-148.
This article focuses on Mary Bluett's and Susan Hopgood's paths to leadership in the Victorian Secondary Teachers Association (VSTA) during the period 1973-95. It considers their role as activists in the transformation of a union and an occupation, which was to have far-reaching effects on the wider society through the state education system. The circumstances that propelled them into union activism are examined as well as a consideration of the importance of their family background, the commitment to social justice and their exposure to feminism from an understanding of the power structures in society. Their collective and strategic approach was developed in the women's caucus, the Open Sub-Committee on Women (OSCW) which was established in 1974 in the face of strong opposition within the union. The development of the union's affirmative action policy provided women such as Bluett and Hopgood with the opportunity to reach positions of leadership in the VSTA and later in the Australian Education Union (AEU) at both branch and national level.
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