my mum used to work in admin for a social welfare body, for years and years. a lot of the social workers were very rude to her, especially young female recent graduates. she didn’t get paid as much as them. the union for that sector was pretty unhelpful the one time she actually turned to them for help.
My mum comes from a middle-class family, but she was one of the youngest children of that family, and her father died when she was very young, so she grew up poor, unlike her older siblings. Later she got into a law degree at an elite university, in a brief window of Australian history when university was free. She fell in love with my father shortly afterwards, he didn’t finish high school and neither did his father. She had a baby, my sister. She came very close to finishing her degree but ultimately dropped out, because of the lack of support for students who were also parents. My dad was in the picture but it still wasn’t enough, and because they weren’t married there was a lot of stigma. Thinking about my mum’s relationship to education and class and men and motherhood has been really essential to my feminism.