A friendly gathering in front of the Carroll family house, ca. 1912. Left to right: Lizzie Gibson, Agnes “Aggie” Shopland, Leila Carroll, Ida Carroll, Elizabeth “Bessie” Woods, Annie Carroll, Olive Hodgson, Mary Hodgson, Ina Carter, Tina Davidson. CDM 2004.20.10.

In honour of Women’s History Month, a look back at career options, both general and localized, from one hundred years ago.

Women might marry and take on the domestic responsibilities that came with running a home and raising a family. Spinsters might continue to live with their parents and work at the family home or farm.

Working outside the home could mean nurse, teacher, secretary, domestic help, telephone operator or dressmaker. The Wrigley’s BC Directory for 1919 shows that women in Courtenay also worked as bank tellers, store clerks and bookkeepers. Outside the mould were those who worked at the Courtenay Condensed Milk Company as sterilizers, milk testers, machine operators, labellers or chauffer. In Cumberland, female employees could find work at the Canadian Collieries as stenographer or payroll clerk, at the Cumberland Hospital or maybe even waitressing at the Cumberland Hotel.