it's the Centenary of Women's Suffrage here in Victoria this year???
It was a long time in coming and it was a hard-fought battle, but finally in November 1908 the Victorian Legislative Council passed the "Adult Suffrage Bill". This bill granted female suffrage (aka "right to vote") to women in Victoria for the first time.
According to the Victorian Women's Trust "Victoria was the last Australian state to grant women the vote, after an incredibly lengthy struggle. Despite being granted the vote federally in 1902, it would be another six years before women were able to vote in their own state. Extensive lobbying and activism took place, including:
- The “Monster Petition” of 1891, which collected an amazing 30,000 signatures, the largest ever presented to the Victorian State Parliament.
- Eighteen women’s suffrage bills, which were rejected by the Victorian Parliament over a period of almost two decades before the Adult Suffrage Act was finally passed in 1908.
The "Trust" initiated "DANGEROUS AND PERSUASIVE WOMEN: CELEBRATING A CENTURY OF WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE IN VICTORIA" - a series of three public forums.
The first event, held in March - Forum One: Rediscovering Women’s Political History commemorated one hundred years of women's activism in Victoria and coincided with International Women's Day celebrations. Historians Professor Patricia Grimshaw, Professor Marilyn Lake and literary historian Jennifer Strauss provided the keynote addresses and you can find their speeches here if you're interested.
The second forum, held in June, provided a unique oral and visual presentation - a journey across the century detailing how Australian women have done politics not only differently, but also very successfully.
But the third forum - Dangerous and Persuasive Women - is still to happen!!!! So if you're interested in the struggle that women had and would like to know more, why not contact the Victorian Women’s Trust on (03) 9642 0422 or email email@example.com and book yourself in for this event - it's on November 29th at the BMW Edge Theatre, Federation Square and it's free!!! (Maybe I'll see you there!!!)
And just to add a bit more herstory, did you know:
"The Victorian Women’s Suffrage Society, the first women’s suffrage society in Australia, was founded in 1884 largely due to the efforts of
Dugdale, very much a ‘freethinker’, claimed to have been Victoria’s first activist for women’s suffrage—having publicly advocated women’s suffrage since 1868, along with married women’s property rights and the admission of women to the universities. In 1883 she published a utopian novel, A Few Hours in a Far Off Age, which she used as a vehicle for her then radical ideas about education, marriage, Christianity and rational dress for women. The Society’s platform was ‘To obtain the same political privileges for women as now possessed by male voters’. It had both male and female members."
You also might like to keep an eye out for the Australian Local Government Women's Association (ALGWA) "funded through the Department of Planning and Community Development Centenary of Women's Suffrage Grants, to recognise and celebrate this historic milestone with the Taking Up The Challenge in 2008 events program which will recognise the value of women's contribution to civic and political roles in Victoria."
If you get a chance, you may like to sign the Victorian Women Vote 1908-2008 calico banner. The banners will be distributed throughout Victoria during the celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Women's right to vote - one of these banners will be at the St. Kilda Library around the 22nd July so keep an eye on the Port Phillip Library website for the actual time and date - and at the end of the year, banners will be sewn together and displayed at the finale of the celebrations at the Parliament House Open Day on the 16th November.
Will you be there????