Escaping assimilation's grasp: Aboriginal women in the Australian women's military services

Escaping assimilation's grasp

Author/s (editor/s):

Noah Riseman

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During the assimilation era of the 1930s–60s, most Australian Indigenous women living in proximity to white Australia were forced to work as domestic servants with few other education or employment prospects. One significant yet understudied exception was employment in the armed services’ women’s auxiliaries. As a consequence of such employment, Aboriginal ex-servicewomen learned new skills and new opportunities to improve their social statuses. Through analysis of oral histories from four Aboriginal ex-servicewomen who served in the 1940s–60s, this article examines how work in the women’s forces empowered Aboriginal women and represented an escape from assimilation policies.

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