The sexist seventies
A tongue-in-cheek look at 1971TIMARU HERALD STAFF REPORTER
It is the 1970s, when the front page of the Timaru Herald is still taken up with advertisements, men are men and mow the lawns, and women look their best sitting at a typewriter. Past Times Page takes a slightly tongue-in-cheek look at the issues and advertisements of October 1971.
Unequal pay was the issue of the day, sitting alongside situations-vacant advertisements that were allowed to specify whether a man or woman was needed for the job.
"Unequal pay does nothing to encourage women to make their best effort," Mrs Rita M King, the president of the Council for Equal Pay and Opportunity, told a public meeting, arranged by the Timaru Business and Professional Women's Club and attended by seven women.
A fellow of the Society of Chartered Accountants in Wellington, Mrs King represented the New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women on the Council for Equal Pay and was a party to the commission of inquiry on equal pay held earlier that year.
Equal pay was the short title for the principle that, where the work was of equal value, the pay for that work should also be equal, Mrs King said. All women asked was that their work be measured by the same standards as the work of men, and rarely do men, as between themselves man to man, do work of equal value.
"Whatever good reason there may be for paying one person more or less than another, the sex of either person should not be taken into account," she said.
The main arguments against equal pay were intelligence, strength, family responsibilities, continuity of service and the burning question, cost, Mrs King said.
Jobs by gender
There are jobs for men, and jobs for women, and the situations-vacant column makes no bones about specifying exactly which sex is sought.
"We require a capable fulltime Female Clerk who is neat and accurate in her work, to be of assistance to the accountant. The position is interesting and working conditions excellent."
The Canterbury Frozen Meat Co Ltd, Pareora Freezing Works, also seeks a clerk: "We require the services of an Experienced Senior or Intermediate Male Clerk for the position of Livestock Control Clerk. A good salary, plus overtime, will be offered to the successful applicant who will have the opportunity of joining the Company's Superannuation Scheme. Please apply in writing stating age and qualifications to The Works Manager."
Women get it write
But women scoop the pool for a book-of-the-year contest.
"The principal prizewinners in the 1971 James Wattie Book of the Year award, announced in Christchurch yesterday, are all women.
"The Book of the Year is William and Mary Rolleston, II by Rosamund Rolleston, which is published by A H and A W Reed.
"In second place was another Reed book, Contemporary Maori Writing by Margaret Orbell. Gardening with New Zealand Plants, Shrubs and Trees by Muriel E Fisher, E Satchell and Janet M Watkins, published by Collins, was third.
"The senior judge of the panel of three (Mr A C Brassington, of Christchurch) said the book chosen as Book of the Year was a family history which was lifted into a higher category because of the political importance in New Zealand of William Rolleston.
"Its main importance was its insight into the character of Mary Rolleston and her influence on her husband. It was a book of political and sociological interest to all New Zealanders, but particular to the people of Canterbury.
"'I have never been so rocked in my life,' said the author, Rosamund Rolleston (Mrs Ormond Wilson) when her book was announced Book of the Year.
"She said that, when it was announced that her book was in the shortlist of 10, she had thought it a joke. 'Naturally, I'm terribly thrilled.'
"Footnote: Mrs Ormond Wilson is the second daughter of the late Mr and Mrs F J Rolleston. Her father, a former mayor of Timaru and chairman of the Timaru Harbour Board, was also attorney-general, minister of justice and minister of defence. She has a brother living in Timaru, Mr J W Rolleston, of 25 The Terrace."
Headline: Absent-minded "nanas" bedevil post office.
"Absent-minded New Zealand grandmothers send much of the mail that ends up in the returned letter office of the Post Office, the supervisor of the office, Mr J Subritsky, said.
"He said parcels of toys and birthday cards were often sent to wrong addresses by 'Nana'.
"If Nana headed her letter 'Home Tuesday', the office would not be able to find her, he said.
"All sealed mail wrongly addressed was sent to the office by Chief Post Offices in major areas once or twice a week, Mr Subritsky said. "The office received and sent out about 500 letters a day and the backlog of mail to be opened varied from one week to four.
"Nearly nine-tenths of the returned mail had traceable addresses inside, he said.
"People often addressed letters to their own towns instead of the right ones. This happened in cycles, Mr Subritsky said.
"Some of the more unusual parcels which ended up in the return letter office were 200 boys' braces, and 20 pairs of women's sandals of the same make in different sizes."
Full-page advertisements for cigarettes are commonplace and news space is devoted to the annual tobacco harvest.
"The 1970 season's saleable yield of green weight tobacco amounted to 7,161,579 pounds, according to the report of the Tobacco Board for the year ended May 31, 1970.
"This was a reduction of 442,327 pounds of the quantity for last season, when the highest yield since the 1964-65 season was recorded.
"The report said the fall in production was caused by disastrous frosts which hit the crop in February last year.
"The production and crop figures also include tobacco grown at the tobacco research station. Last season 5464 pounds valued at $3420 was grown at the station.
"Of total production, flue-cured leaf accounted for 95.88 per cent, and air dried leaf formed 12 per cent of last season's crop.
"The average production of leaf per acre which was sold fell slightly from last season's figure to 1425 pounds, and an acre was valued at $924.
"Tobacco growers during he year numbered 506, the lowest figure since 1960."
And the Traffic Department shows no crystal ball-gazing ability at all, given last year's successful changeover.
"A change from New Zealand's present right-hand give-way rule to a left-hand one, suggested by an American optometrist, would cause confusion, traffic authorities in Auckland said yesterday.
"The suggestion was made in Rotorua by Dr M J Allen, professor of optometry at Indiana University.
"Mr N A Lake, superintendent of the Auckland City Council Traffic Department, said: 'The right-hand rule in New Zealand has been in existence for such a long period that I consider it would cause confusion if it should be altered on the lines suggested.
"'I cannot see any justification for the change as proposed. However the matter would rest with the Ministry of Transport.'"
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