Secretaries Talk

Secretaries Talk:Sexuality, Power, and Work

  • Paperback

Examines the responsibilities of the secretary, through interviews with nearly five hundred Australian office workers, and discusses sexuality, public opinion, technology, work relationships and feminist politics

Despite the large number of women working in offices, few accounts of women and work look at clerical work-ers and fewer still focus on secretaries. Even feminist studies have generally confined themselves to looking at how women combine work with motherhood, or the experience of women in factories.

This book explores this 'invisibility' of secretaries through interviews with almost five hundred office workers from a wide range of workplaces. The author looks at the boss/secretary relationship as an archetype of contemporary power relations, examining the ways in which women as secretaries negotiate these power structures and the complex connections bet-ween domination, sexuality and pleasure. She charts the changing roles available to secretaries — from mother or mistress to 'asexual' teamworker — and the way these roles reflect technological change.

In subjecting these relations to scrutiny, Secretaries Talk examines what might be meant by the term 'women's work', raising questions that are central to the understanding both of gender and of the familiar polarities of home and work, private and public.