A daughter of a hard rock miner at Inco a Canadian Mining company in Sudbury Ontario. She followed in her father’s footsteps, not as a miner but an hourly rated Refinery worker at Inco.
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 in diaries, or on paper towels, cigarette packages, or on anything else she could get her hands on, and she saved 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.