Belinda Esperson

Australia 1965 – women in design!

1965 Australia

I came across this article the other day in a newpaper from 1965 that my brother-in-law found preserved under a floor. The article caught my eye with its reference to Scandinavian Design and contemporary furniture in what was otherwise a very traditional publication. However reading the article I was truly shocked at the way these entrepreneurial women were portrayed.

As was the appalling custom of the time they are referred to by their husband’s name eg. Mrs Douglas Alexandra – as if they did not have their own names and identities. We are then advised of their husband’s professions – despite the fact that their husbands have nothing to do with the business in question. We are then reassured that both women manage to run the business (this “outside interest”) without compromising their home and family duties (despite one having six children). Having devoted half of the article to these important details we then learn about the furniture….

The Scandinavian furniture they were selling is timeless and would sit well in a contemporary furniture showroom today – but thankfully those attitudes towards women are well and truly gone!

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Belinda Esperson