At nineteen, Cathy Mulroy was hired at mining giant Inco and became one of the first women to work there since the war years in a non-traditional job. In 1930, legislation stated it was too dangerous for women to do this work. The laws changed during the war years, but all 1400 women lost their jobs when the war ended, and women were no longer legally employable in mining operations. Laws changed again, and in 1974 Inco hired a few women. Cathy was one of them.
The company didn’t want them there. The men didn’t want them there, and their wives certainly didn’t, either. There were no laws protecting women in the workplace back then. Women working in mining operations endured sexual harassment, discrimination, sexual assault, and threats. This job was rough, but Cathy needed it to escape a toxic marriage. It wasn’t easy. Through the years, she was labelled a “troublemaker” because she stood up for herself and fought back. She began to document everything that happened to her, writing notes on anything she could get her hands on and saving them. After thirty years she began to write her memoir to tell her story from her point of view, what it was like to be the only woman among dozens of men working at Inco, including the struggles of strikes, cutbacks, force adjustments, layoffs, accidents, and fatalities. It was never boring.
Cathy Mulroy is a new author; she has written a historical memoir of her 30 years at Inco, a Canadian giant Mining company in Sudbury, Ontario. She was one of the first women to work as a labour since the war years. In addition to her book My View From the Blackened Rocks, she has a chapter published in Mining Town Crisis, Globalization, labour and resistance in Sudbury.
Cathy has joined the Sudbury Writers guild and is looking forward to writing fiction, poetry, and screenwriting.
What inspired you to write this book?
I started collecting information back in 1975. I wrote down everything that occurred to me during my time working at Inco. In 2000, I joined a memoir group and wrote a story or two every week. I have worked on it for 11 years and finished my memoir in 2019. I want my story to help aid the fight for equality. Integrity is my passion, believing in what is right. From the first day with my feet being too small for the steel toed rubber boots to the end using the companies own laws to fight back.
Tell me something not in the synopsis.
There is no story told like this in Canadian literature, and certainly not in Northern Ontario. We were a rarity. However, my book is distinctly different because of the notes and journal entries I made during the time things were happening. Therefore, there are photos, documents, letters, etc that back up my story, some of which are included as pictures in the book.