Women in Telegraphy and Telephony2018-10-31T13:02:53+02:00

MPT Collections

Women in Telegraphy and Telephony

The exhibition Women in Telegraphy and Telephony  was on display until 14. 12. 2014. Now it is published online in GPix360 °.

In the exhibition visitors will discover how developments in telegraphy and telephony contributed to the creation of new jobs during the 20th century which were mainly occupied by women.

By the mid-19th century women who worked for their living were not considered ‘ladies’. Therefore the most acceptable occupation for daughters of impoverished aristocratic or middle-class families was the job of a governess. It was the technological development, in particular of the telegraph, typewriter and telephone, which resulted in the emergence of various new employments suitable for such women, requiring an appropriate education, verbal skills and polite manners. Thus also widows and single women could get employment without any repercussions to their social status. By the end of the century these women were further joined by girls of the upper working class which met the requisite standards of formal education. The employers hired them mainly for economic reasons, as they were paid a lot less than their male counterparts.

In 1872 the Austrian authorities took a decision that upon the completion of a telegraphy course, women could be employed in the State Telegraphy offices. In the same year the Ljubljana Office employed the first Slovene woman telegrapher. The invention of the telephone resulted in a significant increase of women employees in the postal service with work in the telephone exchanges becoming a new and typically female, occupation. Women were massively employed in telegraphy and also later, in the use of teleprinters. Until the eclipse of this activity in the 1990s there were hardly any men who would choose this occupation.

To view the exhibition GPix360 ° click on the thumbnail below