Union Songs

Don't Be Too Polite Girls

A song by Glen Tomasetti©Glen Tomasetti 1969
Tune "All Among The Wool"

Orignal Version in Australian Tradition

Pants on Fire Version

- [play]

We're really on the way, girls, really on the way,
Hooray for equal pay, girls, hooray for equal pay,
They're going to give it to most of us, in spite of all their fears
But do they really need to make us wait three years.

Don't be too polite girls, don't be too polite,
Show a little fight girls, show a little fight,
Don't be fearful of offending, in case you get the sack
Just recognise your value and we won't look back.

I sew up shirts and trousers in the clothing trade,
Since men don't do the job I can't ask to be better paid
The people at the top rarely offer something more
Unless the people underneath are walking out the door.

They say a man needs more to feed his children and his wife,
Well, what are the needs of a woman who leads a double working life?
When the whistle blows for knock-off it's not her time for fun
She goes home to start the job that's not paid and never done.

Don't be too afraid girls, don't be too afraid,
We're clearly underpaid girls, clearly underpaid,
Tho' equal pay in principle is every woman's right
To turn that into practice, we must show a little fight.

We can't afford to pay you, say the masters in their wrath
But woman says "Just cut your coat according to the cloth"
If the economy won't stand then here's the answer boys,
"Cut out the wild extravagance on the new war toys".

All among the bull girls, all among the bull,
Keep your hearts full girls, keep your hearts full
What good is a man as a doormat, or following at heel?
It's not their balls we're after, it's a fair square deal.


Many thanks to Choir Choir Pants On Fire from New Zealand for permission to add their version of this song to the Union Songs collection.

The song was written by Glen Tomasetti who was a well know Melbourne folk singer, writer and political activist. The song is still in use in demonstrations in Australia and has been widely used in films and as a theme song for women's radio and International Women's Day celebrations. It was first sung on Channel 7 television in the current affairs prgram "This Week".

In the introduction to 'Songs From A Seat In The Carriage', a folio of her songs published in 1970, Glen wrote:
'In Charles Dickens 'A Tale of Two Cities' the Marquis St Evremonde rides through the streets of Paris in his carriage. It runs down a child and as the father crouches in the mud, howling like a wild animal over the body of his son, the Marquis dispenses two coins and gives the order, DRIVE ON'. Australia's traditional image identifies us with the poor from whom we are mostly descended. In world society today, however, Australia is part of the old regime, which protects and enlarges its riches at any cost to other people. Occasionally we throw out our loose change and drive on. These songs were written from a seat in that carriage'."

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