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Most of the women working during the 1950s were single. Once they married they usually had to resign or were sacked. As it was expected most single women would marry, and therefore give up work, single women were denied training which would have helped them advance in their job.

In 1958 a Commonwealth Public Service committee recommended the marriage bar* be lifted but the government refused. It wasn’t until 1966 that the Federal Government lifted the marriage bar which allowed women employed in the Public Service to remain working after they married. Australia was one of the last democratic countries in the world to lift the marriage bar.

Lifting the marriage bar meant there were more women in the workforce. The number of women in the workforce has steadily increased since the 1960s.

* a law that allowed employers to legally terminate a woman’s employment if she married


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