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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.




The range of occupations open to women at present is reasonably wide. Both men and women are found in draughting, floral work, technical and research laboratory work, domestic work, social work, photography, medicine, the armed services, and numerous other occupations. A unique training in elementary dentistry is available to New Zealand girls for staffing the school dental service. Only girls train as occupational therapists, kindergarten teachers, and Karitane nurses. Among fields predominantly staffed by men, such as law, dentistry, architecture, veterinary science, and agriculture, there may be found a sprinkling of girls. Vocational guidance officers report that those who take advantage of their help in choosing a career are more interested in the work content and personal satisfaction to be derived from it than in the monetary rewards of jobs under consideration. Usually allowances and wages are adequate to good, but a few girls would be barred from entering a suitable apprenticeship or training course through lack of financial assistance from home to augment their earnings, particularly if they are required to live away from home.

Most young people go into a job prepared to do as well as possible in the limited time they are likely to be in employment. The average ambition is to qualify by training and experience, enjoy leisure hours, perhaps have a working holiday overseas, and then get married. These are the ones who set the fashion in women's clothing (as they generally have the time and money to expend on this), and their current attitudes, taste, and behaviour have a considerable impact on the social habits of the community. Sometimes they finish in positions of responsibility without ever having aimed at more than a subordinate level. Those who set out with high goals or unusual ambitions are more likely to be thwarted and frustrated by the amount of discrimination which still persists against women. Their generally short working life prejudices their chances in competition with men for senior posts, their supposed lack of stamina prevents them from being accepted for rigorous outdoor work, and even women's lack of confidence in women has to be overcome in certain professions. Such frustrations are gradually being eliminated as capable women, given the opportunity, have shown that they can command the same respect and carry out efficiently the same duties as men. A few have been ordained as ministers; some have achieved diplomatic status; many have been appointed to the teaching staffs of the universities; and more and more are having the chance to prove themselves in administrative and personnel work.

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