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An article in The Boroondara Standard Friday 26 June 1891 commenting on the impact of the trend of young women prefering not to be domestic servants


Domestic Servants

The distase (sic) amongst colonial girls for menial labour grows stronger every year, unfortunately for the country as well as for themselves. There is nothing degrading about honest labour, this however is not the opinion of the working classes, amongst whom their ideas of gentility rise with their means, consequently servants (both male and female) are at a premium, owing to their scarcity. Young girls shun service on being emacipated from their mothers apron strings, their great object being to get into a shop, their duties in which are not less agreeable, on account of the male element therein. Girls who ought to be learning their household duties, how to cook a dinner for their future husbands, which includes sending him to his mornings work with a good breakfast in him, and providing him with a clean and comfortable fire side after his work is done, and unless she knows enough of domestic economy to see to these things, she will never have or deserve to have a lover. The man, who with only a college education as a preparative, who would attempt the conduct of a printing office, would be ridiculed, and he who should apply for the place of foreman in a factory, knowing nothing of mechanics would be considered a lunatic, yet every day girls, without the least knowledge of housekeeping, take upon themselves the direction of some mans house without the faintest idea of knowing how to go about it, whereas she who can clean her own house and cook a dinner at need, is practically independent of servants, and if she has them, is able to direct them. German, Danish and French women of all ranks are instructed in household work, and cooking as carefully as many other branches of education, As for cooking, no woman ever regretted the time spent in learning it. The market is already overcrowded with shop girls, the ranks being recruited from the daughters of washerwomen, labourers wives and people of that class, who, thanks to the system of national education have acquired sufficient knowledge of arithmetic to tot up a few figures, dress like their betters, and to despise their parents the pancity of domestic labour, will yet drive housekeepers to hotels, and is in fact now doing so.





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