Sudbury

Sudbury miner outlines what it was like to be one of the first women to work at INCO

In 1974, Sudbury’s Cathy Mulroy heard an ad on the radio saying INCO was getting ready to hire women.

Cathy Mulroy is publishing a book on her career

Cathy Mulroy was one of the few women hired to work at INCO in Sudbury in 1974. (Submitted by Jennifer Penny)

In 1974, Sudbury's Cathy Mulroy heard an ad on the radio saying INCO was getting ready to hire women.

An ad like that was unusual. The company had employed women during the war years but they were all laid off afterwards.

Mulroy was married at 16 and wanted out. She had no education, no skills or a job. Despite that, she applied and was hired.

"I started off on the wrong foot right away," she said. "The first day, my feet were too small for the rubber-toed steel boots."

She says the company offered to train her since she didn't have any experience. She says a lot of the men working at the company weren't happy about women showing up to work.

"I used to get phone calls saying I was taking away a man's job," she said. "I wanted to fit in but it wasn't going to be easy."

Despite other women being hired at the same time, Mulroy says it was difficult to spend time with them.

"They were on different shifts," she said. "They would not let us work together. I think it was a control thing."

Mulroy ended up working for the company for 30 years and she retired in 2004. Now, she's written a memoir of her experience called "My View From the Blackened Rocks".

Cathy Mulroy recently published a book about her time working at INCO, called My View From The Blackened Rocks. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

"I started writing things down on everything and anything," she said. "Maybe it was my way of handling the stressful situation."

After 30 years, she says she had three bins of information written down.

"This is my life [and] this is how I saw what it was like working there," she said.

One of the first women to ever work at INCO has just written a book about the experience. Cathy Mulroy joined us in studio to talk about what it was like for her starting to work at INCO at a time when mining was a man's world. 7:46

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