It was no easy road to the agreement of elimination of discrimination in the state sector at the end of the 1970s - an agreement we easily take for granted today. Early in 1976 the PSA offered a seminar for both men and women entitled ‘Women in 1976’ which intended to advance the status of women in the public service and in the PSA.
Following on from this seminar a remit was presented and approved by the Annual Conference in 1976 on granting permanent staff status to part-time workers. Up to then part-time workers could not receive a permanent contract. The remit was supported by the new chairman for the State Services Commission who highlighted the importance for women to have the opportunity ‘to make a serious career’ regardless of choosing part-time of fulltime work.
Finally in 1977 an agreement on the elimination of discrimination was signed. As a result of the agreement a working group was set up to examine career structures for part-time employees. A pilot scheme supporting part-time and job sharing was also sponsored. The women in the public sector still hugely benefit from this agreement. However, an examination of career structures of part-time employees as well as a scheme to promote better part-time and job sharing opportunities would be as timely today as it was thirty years ago.