Mrs. Atwal, Mrs Maan, Mrs. Johal talk about immigrating from India and their early years in Canada; Mrs. Gill talks about her experiences as a Canadian-born, raised and educated woman. The women talk abut their arranged marriages, their children’s rejection of the same, and about their lives as logger’s wives and living conditions in Lake Cowichan in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Betty Griffin discusses wages and equal pay for women, and the difference in attitude towards women working during World War II and after the war. She also discusses consciousness raising within the rank and file (including the Worker’s Educational Association and the Miss Production contest), and struggles within the union between right wing and progressive factions. Finally, Griffin discusses attitudes towards the war effort and Fascism.
Jean Scott discusses her early life, growing up on the prairies, and her first jobs as a domestic. She discusses her musical aspirations, leaving her abusive husband, and the poor treatment of domestic workers. Finally, she discusses working in a small country hospital, attending night school, and the personal changes that came with the advent of war.
Irene Seed discusses moving to Youbou, British Columbia and daily life with a child in a rural Vancouver Island community. She talks about seeking steady work during the Great Depression, her experiences as a nurse (including training, duties, and wages), and the wood industry to which her husband belonged. She touches upon racial segregation in the forestry industry, and the Women’s Auxiliary’s impact on the social life of women in the community.
Irene Seed continues talking about her experiences in the Women’s Auxiliary, the activities of the Women’s Auxiliary, the Auxiliary’s relationship with the forestry industry and union, and the Auxiliary’s eventual dissolution. She also goes into safety issues in the mill, raising a child in Youbou, and her first day in Youbou.
Jean Shiels discusses her early life in Vancouver, and her recollections of the Great Depression (including her family’s eviction and her father’s arrest for organizing). She discusses the Worker’s Unity League and the issues of free speech and free assembly. She also talks about food, community organization and women’s organization, social attitudes towards people on relief, and changing attitudes towards race in the 1930s. Finally, she talks about organization done by women, and the impact of unemployment on young people.
Jean Shiels discusses disillusionment amongst women during the Great Depression, mother and father’s history with unionism, and their eviction during the Great Depression. She also discusses the single unemployed, the difference in labour struggles from the 1930s to the 1980s, and the On to Ottawa trek.
Marjorie Storm describes the physical layout of the plant and its’ activities; technological change in the mill and effect on employment; being a working mother; domestic challenges; 60-pound lift limits for women under the Factories Act; arbitration cases; the strike of 1948; I.W.A. Women’s Auxiliary and her attempts through resolutions to give it more clout.
Elizabeth Fordham discusses the On to Ottawa Trek, Women’s League meetings, how she became involved in politics, and the different women’s organizations at the time. She also discusses evictions in Vancouver during the Great Depression, the 1934 West Coast waterfront strike, and her first job.
Lil Godfrey discusses her life in the Lake Cowichan area during the 1940s, including housework and trade unionism in the region. She talks about where her support for trade unionism came from, her family’s immigration to Vancouver Island, actions undertaken by the lumber industry unions (including a 1946 strike), and fundraising in the Women’s Auxiliary. During the interview she looks through her scrapbook of correspondence and publicity regarding trade union issues and actions.
Lil Godfrey talks about the Lake Cowichan Women’s Auxiliary travelling delegations; women’s activities during the 1946 strike and the Auxiliary’s 10th anniversary; the Auxiliary’s community role as fundraisers and supporting services; the local chapter of the charity Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire (IODE); the importance of Gordon’s general store and the co-op; and the Indo-Canadian community at Cowichan.
Jean Scott discusses social attitudes towards domestic abuse, and her work with the Canadian Air Force during the war. She also discusses the beginnings of her interest in politics, her early involvement with the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), the involvement of women in the party, and the Political Action Committee organized by the Canadian Congress of Labour. Finally, she discusses working for trade unions as office secretary, the types of industries being organized, attitudes towards trade unionism, and the International Woodworkers Association’s rejection of the International.
Jean Shiels discusses the Mother’s Council and relief during the Great Depression. She also discusses the peace movement, the League Against the War on Fascism, and support for Spain in the 1930s. Finally, she discusses the Young Pioneers and summer camp, race relations, women in trade unions, and birth control.
Mrs. Atwal, Mrs. Maan, Mrs. Johal and Mrs. Gill talk about managing a working class wage including not being able to afford going to a restaurant, the importance of women raising animals and gardening to feed the family, and taking on menial jobs; how despite their poverty they all enjoyed those early times; Mrs. Johal tells a story of finding her cow in the house eating her knitting; living in housing owned by the mill companies; their responsibility towards family members including helping those immigrating during their first years in Canada; their experiences working outside the home, including in nursing and as agricultural labourers.
Elizabeth Fordham discusses her experiences during the Great Depression, including difficulties with housing, food, and looking after children. She also discusses the women’s labour movement and the types of organizing undertaken by the movement. Finally, she discusses the pacifist movement during the 1930s.
Elizabeth Fordham discusses her job pressing clothing. She also discusses her reasons for immigrating from England to Saskatchewan, and her subsequent movement from Saskatchewan to British Columbia. She talks about the birth control movement and the lack of sexual health education for women. Finally, she discusses her experiences setting up a summer camp for workers’ children.
Lil Godfrey discusses issues surrounding the Canadian IWA split from the International in 1948; labelling of trade unionists as radicals and communists; the social focus of Women’s Auxiliary activities after 1948; early conditions in the bunk houses. Lil describes photos, printed material, and newspaper clipping, from her scrapbook that document the Auxiliary. Includes information on other members and the IWA Trek to Victoria.
Irene Seed further discusses her experiences in Youbou, the Women’s Auxiliary, raising children, and her happiest memories. She also discusses her husband’s death from kidney disease, her widow’s pension, and the loggers in the community.
Masue Tagashira discusses her immigration from Japan to Canada in 1927, her life in Japan prior to moving, and the differences between rural life in Japan and Canada. She also discusses life, work and wages on logging camps.
Masue Tagashira discusses her separation from her son, her marriage and leaving her husband, working in retail, being reunited with her son, and the importance of education for her children.
Mrs. Atwal, Mrs. Maan, Mrs. Johal and Mrs. Gill talk about the dangers of forestry jobs; criticism of the union for supporting workers charged with working unsafely even if the worker is in the wrong; how the union helped them get holiday pay and retirement pensions; the ways women support the union during strikes such as feeding people on the line; how women had to be very careful of household budgeting.
Ruth Bullock discusses her early life on Saltspring Island, and the injustices faced by girls. She also discusses her first job as a housekeeper in New Westminster, including wages and daily duties. Finally, she talks about her first marriage, enduring the Great Depression, the difficulties of pregnancy and childbirth at the time, and her fears that her newborn baby girl would face the same injustices she did.
Ruth Bullock continues discussing abortion, the difficulties of pregnancy and childbirth, and her involvement in the birth control movement. She discusses her increased involvement in politics, and her joining of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) in 1933, and the position of women inside the party. Finally, she discusses changes within politics and the women’s movement with the advent of World War II, and her work in the canning industry in the Mission area.