I am a Retired member writing in reply to Fred Rainger (“Gender history”, Letters, December 7, 2015).
I went on maternity leave at the end of 1971 (note: much more than 20 years ago). There was no pressure to resign. There were, however, comments from the deputy principal about staff having to “carry” women who became pregnant. I had up to that time only taken one day’s sick leave and didn’t think the Deputy’s comment was appropriate.
You were only entitled to six weeks’ paid maternity leave for the period before the baby was born. You had to go back to work in order to be paid. Because my daughter came early I only received five weeks’ pay when I returned to teaching in 1973.
There were other things I didn’t like: you could not do any casual teaching while on leave; you had no right of return to your school; not only was I sent to a different school but I had to teach a different subject; before going on leave I was sent to another school to cover the sick leave of a teacher at that school.
After this experience I resigned the next time I became pregnant with the intention of afterwards taking up casual teaching part-time (which I did for seven years).
Because I resigned I was kicked out of the State Superannuation Fund, my contributions were not rolled over and I was not allowed into the State Superannuation Fund in 1983 when I returned to fill a permanent position.
That was by far the worst treatment of female teachers. I actually worked until after the age of 65 to save sufficient superannuation, which is in no way near the pension received by permanent teachers who commenced teaching in 1970.