The Canberra Times on this day in 1981 revealed many public services steno-secretaries were unhappy with chore-like tasks they were asked to carry out.
A survey of about 1000 public service steno-secretaries was conducted by the ACT branch of the Australian Public Service Association, and it showed the private work the women were expected to do for their bosses included making dental appointments, shopping, minding children, and reminding them of family anniversaires.
The assistant secretary of the ACT branch of APSA, Mary Kasprzak, was a secretary for two years and attested to the fact they were asked to do such tasks, recalling a time her boss asked her to mind his children in the office and take them to a library at lunchtime.
"I do not think it has anything to do with feminism," she said. "It's to do with the use of office resources. You are not paying steno-secretaries to do that sort of work. It's wasting taxpayers' money."
Miss Kasprzak said about 70 per cent of the women surveyed complained about having to do non-secretarial work.
"Some enjoy doing it," she said. "But the bulk of them see it as an insult. They see themselves as a professional group who are treated in the old stereotype role for women."
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