Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Just as I was about to put mum's book down just now I remembered her writing about discrepancies in pay between men and women back in about 1916, so I thought this may be interesting to us in the 21st century.  Once again I am quoting from mum's book.  She was at the time working for the Sugar Commission in London "which had been formed to safeguard the supply of sugar to industry, the community and the armed forces and was vital to the war effort."

"As the war continue my duties became extremely heavy and as I was still Confidential Secretary to the Manager, and often called upon to undertake confidential work for member of the Commission, I was frequently working until midnight and at weekends.

It was then decided to brig in a man to handle part of my work, and he was given that dealing with golden syrup and molasses.  I was most annoyed to learn that he was to receive 800 pounds a year (a large salary then) to do only part of my work, while I had been receiving 250 pounds a year for coping with the lot.  (sorry there are no pound signs on computer keyboards)

Special applications were made to the Treasury on my behalf, but I was refused an increase as I was being paid the maximum possible for a woman without a university degree.  My assistant, who also did not have a university degree, was eligible for the larger salary as he was a male.  There were many such anomalies in government service, but pressure for equal pay has now resulted in better conditions for women."

Mum also goes on to write:

"My service with the Commission was really the crowning point of my career in England as, by having achieved such a position at the age of 19, which covered confidential services to the governent, a department of my own, control of a pool of about 40 typists, as well as the opportunity to work directly with the members of the Commission and my close association with my immediate chief. there was little more to which I could aspire."

I am so proud of this lady who chose me to be her daughter and I know my family is proud of her too.


  1. Of course you are proud. Who wouldn't be? And, sad to say pay differences are still in place. Not as overtly perhaps, but they are still there.

  2. Possibly some women who are CEOs of big companies receive high wages but even then I wonder if they receive as much as their male counterparts who are CEOs of other companies. That would be interesting to know.