We have captured the stories of Australian union women to record and celebrate their place in our history and to inspire and inform future generations of activism.
About the Women in Unions site
This site is an online archive of union women’s stories, recorded in their own words via face-to-face interviews.
Our interviewers are collecting the inspiring stories of Australian union women - capturing their voices to create this oral history archive.
Why is this archive important?
The activism of women has shaped our civil society, building trade unions and arguing for the wages and conditions we enjoy today (like maternity leave). We live in a time where women are playing an increasingly influential role, but the recorded history of the Australian union movement has been disproportionately dominated by the stories and personal histories of union men.
Countless women in the union movement have been instrumental in leading campaigns and pushing (often unpopular) issues, and their stories aren’t being told—their contributions have been lost in history. We aim to correct this imbalance.
By turning individual, personal memories into a shared collection, we are ensuring that these women’s stories are remembered and indelibly recorded in history.
Who is leading this project?
Mihajla Gavin joined the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) Business School as a Lecturer after completing her PhD in 2019 at the University of Sydney. Her thesis examined how the NSW Teachers' Federation has responded to successive waves of neoliberal education reform since the 1980s to protect and advance the working conditions of public school teachers.
Her research interests are located in the areas of industrial/ employment relations. Mihajla's recent publications in the Journal of Industrial Relations, Labour and Industry, and the Asia-Pacific Journal of Human Resources have examined work intensification in teaching, union strategy, and the changing nature of governance, professionalism and work in the education sector.
Prior to entering academia, she worked as a senior adviser for Australia's national workplace regulator, the Fair Work Ombudsman, across various policy, research, advisory and project roles. Mihajla is a member of the Executive Committee's of the Association of Industrial Relations Academics in Australia and New Zealand (AIRAANZ) and the Industrial Relations Society of New South Wales (IRSNSW).