A bizarre list of rules for female teachers printed in an employers contract from 1923 has raised eyebrows after it was posted on social media.
The image was uploaded in an Australian Facebook group and detailed 14 rules that dictate what the employed teacher can drink, wear and even where she can socialise.
The detailed agreement banned teachers from riding in the same vehicle as a male, marriage or leaving town without permission.
The dress code for teachers at the school in 1923 banned bright colours, make-up, dyed hair and insisted teachers “wear at least two petticoats”.
Education wasn’t the only task on the agenda with teachers expected to work as a janitor for the classroom “scrubbing the floor weekly” and even starting the fireplace at 7am “in order to warm up the room” for students who began the day at 8am.
It’s unclear where the teaching contract was published but some responding to the Facebook post speculated it may be from a US school based on the spelling and use of ‘dollars’ instead of pounds. During this time period the unit of currency in Australia was pounds. It wasn’t until 1966 that we converted to dollars.
Given the list only specified the guidelines for female teachers, it’s not surprising that teachers in 2019 had a lot to say about the rules.
“Sounds like a prison sentence. How lucky we modern women are!” one person wrote.
Another person was quick to respond suggesting that not all women in 2019 were allowed the same lifestyle as those in Western countries.
“I think there is still a lot of progress to cover. Women are still disadvantaged in many areas but at least it’s not this bad anymore,” one woman wrote.
“I wonder if you still would have chosen the same path back then?” one person wrote as they tagged a friend.
“I’d definitely be unemployed,” another person said.
While most people responding had a chuckle at the stringent rules, the one that caused the most outrage amongst teachers today was rule number four.
Teachers must agree to “not loiter downtown in ice cream parlors (sic)”.
“I can’t believe that that was an issue, I have never heard about it in relation to it being a place of ill repute as such!” one person responded.
“I would also struggle with no ice cream,” another person added.
One woman paying close attention picked up on a small detail in the contract they felt they could work around.
“Not to drink beer, whiskey or wine,” the contract read.
“Does this mean you could drink vodka, or any other spirit? What about cider?” one Facebook user responded.
“Thank goodness you could still have a gin and tonic,” a relieved person said.
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