Joy Teague interview: Selected quotes

Joy Teague

On a separate page: Overview page for this interview

Women home looking after their men

[M]y mother, who hadn’t had much education, pushed … wanted me … wanted us to have education. Apart from that she didn’t really think women should do anything with their education. She didn’t think women should go out to work and take jobs from men. When they were married she thought that they should be staying at home and looking after their men. And [giggles] … she actually did her degree … she started when my brother and I were both at university. I went to university as a part-time student. My brother and I graduated together. My mother was still studying at that time. She did an arts degree.

Quote from interview with Joy Teague
  • Transcript lines: 44-50
  • Audio clip [41 seconds] located at 02:58 in full audio of interview

Different promotion paths for men and women

[T]he bank policy was that there was a career path for men. They started off as clerks, then they became tellers, and then they became accountants, and then they became managers. And there were various levels within that. Women started off as clerical assistants, I think, and that’s where I finished!

Quote from interview with Joy Teague
  • Transcript lines: 188-191
  • Audio clip [18 seconds] located at 10:43 in full audio of interview

Pay scale differential

Because I think people just fitted in the standard structure of the bank. And while I was there they brought in a salary classification range for women above the promotional range for women. There were six scales, six levels, and the highest level paid less than a junior teller. And at the time I left I was on the highest level with a special allowance on top of that. So $200 a year extra, which made me the highest paid woman in the bank.

Quote from interview with Joy Teague
  • Transcript lines: 199-206
  • Audio clip [36 seconds] located at 11:10 in full audio of interview

The challenge of supervising essentially one’s equals

When we got transferred to Deakin there was some pressure then for the university staff should be doing research, et cetera. And there was an appointment made where the person appointed was — part of the reason he was being appointed — was to improve the research effort from the school. And he encouraged me and one of the men to do a Master’s with him supervising. That’s when I started doing the Master’s. He wasn’t much of a supervisor. He’d just finished his Ph.D. and I think a problem that often people have when they are supervising their colleagues is, because their colleagues are essentially their equals, they’re not very good at taking on the role of supervisor for them. And he never … he really didn’t do much supervising. He’s never read my thesis, my Master’s thesis.

Quote from interview with Joy Teague
  • Transcript lines: 482-496
  • Audio clip [1 minute 8 seconds] located at 25:54 in full audio of interview

Learning curve for new Ph.D. as a supervisor

And my supervisor used to have a chat with me about once a year. At the time I finished, he’d gone overseas, so he wasn’t available to read my thesis and … But one thing that he did do was that the fellow who had started the same year that I did — we started together, I deferred for 12 months somewhere along the way. The other fellow also took the maximum time, but because he hadn’t deferred for a year he finished 12 months before me. And his thesis got sent off to somebody in Sydney who was working in the same area, was not actually known to the fellow who was supervising us. Came back and the whole thing had to be re-written, re-done. It was an enormous … you know, it just didn’t fit in with the… It was just a terrible job for him. He spent 12 months working pretty much at home, had a fairly light teaching load, redoing everything. So my … our supervisor then realized that you need to be careful about who you select as examiners. And so he did sit down with me and we talked about people that we knew who might examine this and who might … well, who weren’t going to have strong views that were different as had happened with that fellow in Sydney. And my thesis was sent out to two examiners and it came back and I didn’t have to do anything to it!

Quote from interview with Joy Teague
  • Transcript lines: 560-577
  • Audio clip [1 minute 45 seconds] located at 31:01 in full audio of interview

People-to-People reunion as motivation to publish research

Now, the thing that happened that really changed my life was that in 1987 I got invited to a People-to-People tour of China. And went to China with a group. We got very friendly. [The topic of this People-to-People was c]omputing education. And they had a reunion in November — we went in May — in November that year they had a reunion in New York, which was … sort of put up as a symposium. So I was sent an invitation to a symposium, which we all knew was really just a reunion, but there was an opportunity for us to give papers. I took it along with my head of department. And I … he knew what it was I was going to. But he happened to have some money left in his budget for sending people to conferences and he paid my trip to New York to what was basically a reunion, and I gave a short paper on something or other. I’d also, when we went to China, presented a couple of papers I think. But that was the first experience I’d ever had at actually presenting papers.

Quote from interview with Joy Teague
  • Transcript lines: 585-599
  • Audio clip [1 minute 22 seconds] located at 32:55 in full audio of interview

Subtle discrimination?

And around that time, it was just a little earlier, I read that article by Ellen. Ellen Spertus. And that also had a major influence on me because I had never felt discriminated against. I mean, my colleagues didn’t discriminate against me, they treated me as an equal. I read her article and I realized just how much discrimination there was. […] So much of what she said I could see related to me. And prior to that I had never thought of myself as being discriminated against. I … all of my colleagues always treated me as an equal. But … I had a heavier load than anybody else in the department. I was more junior than most of the people in the department. And there were all sorts of things in Ellen’s paper that applied to me. So I started to view the world differently then.

Quote from interview with Joy Teague
  • Transcript lines: 670-688
  • Audio clip [1 minute 18 seconds] located at 38:13 in full audio of interview

Differences in timing to promotion

[W]hen I read Ellen’s paper, if I’d been a man I would have been a senior lecturer. I was still a lecturer at that time. So that’s when I started taking an interest in women in computing and discrimination and that sort of thing and started to work more closely with Val Clarke, who was the psychologist [at Deakin University]. We were on the same floor of the same building and her interest was social psychology. One of her areas of interest was women in computing so we started to work together and worked on a variety of projects and papers.

Quote from interview with Joy Teague
  • Transcript lines: 702-707
  • Audio clip [42 seconds] located at 40:53 in full audio of interview

No information from the top echelons

One of the results of the mergers [between universities] was that the people in the top echelons had this view of where the university was going and everything was wonderful for them. They just forgot to tell anybody lower down. I was an enrollment officer advising students, second and third year students. The students would tell me what the new regulations were because it just never got passed on. That sort of … so where previously people had worked together as a team, there was no feeling of that.

Quote from interview with Joy Teague
  • Transcript lines: 758-763
  • Audio clip [30 seconds] located at 45:15 in full audio of interview

Dissertation comments: content vs. appearance

I was aiming to finish just before going to a conference. And, of course, it always takes a bit longer than you expect. Well, the day that I was … the day before I left for the conference I finished at the point where, I thought, it was ready to be examined. Val [my secondary supervisor] had read it. I took it in. My primary supervisor wasn’t in his office, although I had said I’d be coming, but I hadn’t actually specified a time. So I left it on his desk with a note saying, “I’m leaving tomorrow. Please let Val know if there are any major problems, anything that needs to be done. Otherwise she’ll send it for printing (this is printing to be sent out for examination) next week.” Anyway, he contacted Val and he really didn’t ask Val for her comments last night, because she was just appalled that he didn’t like the font that it was … that I had used. He didn’t have any comments whatsoever about the content. It was all about the appearance.

Quote from interview with Joy Teague
  • Transcript lines: 811-821
  • Audio clip [1 minute 7 seconds] located at 49:13 in full audio of interview

Teaching computing at home

We decided we’d teach computing at home. Set up a classroom downstairs and put flyers in peoples’ letterboxes and started doing a bit of that. We used to offer a free class teaching what you could do with a computer. Barrie used to conduct it. The class would arrive and I would take a photo of them all. And then I would go upstairs and edit the photo and clear away the background clutter, and put paintings on the wall [chuckles], and then email it to them. So that they each got an email with an attachment and they could have a look at this photo that had been taken just a short time before. Basically we were just showing people what you could do with a computer, different sorts of things you could do. And then Barrie talked about when people wanted to buy a computer what they need to look at.

Quote from interview with Joy Teague
  • Transcript lines: 895-903
  • Audio clip [58 seconds] located at 54:44 in full audio of interview

A very different kind of student

And teaching at the community center, which we started last year, teaching at the community center. {Question: So very different kind of students from the students you had at Deakin?} Very. Yes, they’re almost all female. They’re elderly. They’re … they enjoy themselves. I mean, they don’t have to go home and do assignments. They don’t have exams. It’s just an interesting … nobody cares if they do work or they don’t. We teach them … the classes last … well, their classes typically were lasting three or four weeks. We are extending that this year, and sort of slowing them down, really, and spreading them out over eight weeks for reasons related to the funding that the center gets. We’ve built up a number of classes.

Quote from interview with Joy Teague
  • Transcript lines: 955-965
  • Audio clip [51 seconds] located at 59:51 in full audio of interview

Hindsight regarding for whom to vote

If I could change one decision. … Well, I’m thinking that being the only woman in the department, I used to be on all the interviewing committees. And therefore, I was on the interviewing committee that appointed the head of the department that was there at the time I left. There was another candidate. I would have voted for the other candidate. I don’t know, it probably wouldn’t have made any difference, but …

Quote from interview with Joy Teague
  • Transcript lines: 1028-1032
  • Audio clip [34 seconds] located at 64:04 in full audio of interview