Big Steps: one woman's long, brave (and still ongoing) fight for fair pay | Women's Agenda

Big Steps: one woman’s long, brave (and still ongoing) fight for fair pay

Last week hundreds of early childcare educators walked off the job in a protest against dire pay conditions.

For decades, highly trained educators in this sector have been left by the economic wayside. The average wage per hour standing at just $21.

It’s a reality that feminist activist Zelda D’Aprano, now ninety years old, knows too well.

As a factory worker in the 1940s-50s, D’Aprano became appalled by the conditions women were forced to work in. She joined the Communist Party in 1950, and began her lifelong crusade for fairer workplaces.

In 1969, while working for the Australasian Meat Industry Employees’ Union (AMIEU), D’Aprano and several other women waited outside the Arbitration Court in Melbourne as the case for equal pay was being decided.

When the case was eventually tossed out, Zelda, supported by a number of female coworkers chained herself to the Commonwealth Building in protest.

Throughout her life, D’Aprano fought tirelessly and often physically for her right to equal pay.

At ninety years old, Zelda’s fight is still enduring. This week she created a video with organisation, Big Steps, in support of early childhood educators and their right to fair pay.


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