Australian Women's History


Woman's Weekly Assists Athletes


The Australian Woman's Weekly began assisting elite sports women to help achieve their goals because it was hard for athletes to gain acceptance in their chosen sporting fields.

Thalidomide becomes available


Although Thalidomide was proven to cause missing limbs on babies, it was a widely used drug given to pregnant women from 1957 to the early 1960's. This drug affected many women because their children were born without limbs and many people have campaigned against its developer.

New South Wales legislates Equal Pay


New South Wales legislated equal pay for women who were working in a same or like natured job. Up until 1959, the basic female wage was only 75% of men's wages.

The Pill


In 1961 the Contraceptive Pill became readily available. this encourages a different view on marriage. Women began to see themselves as sexual partners not just a "wife". It also meant after the mid 60's families became smaller as women had control over becoming pregnant.

Quentin Bryce is Admitted


Quentin Bryce became the first woman to be admitted to the Queensland Bar

Save Our Sons Movement Formed


The Save Our Sons Movement was formed and sort to change the national service act which conscripted young men by ballot for overseas service in the war against Vietnam.

Merle Thornton and Rosalie Bogner are chained


Merle Thornton and Rosalie Bogner chained themselves to the Regatta Hotel in Brisbane in protest to women not being allowed to drink in Hotels.

Campaign by Union of Australian Women


A campaign was launched by the union of Australian Women which was successful in having 1 large toy distributor declare they would not stock war toys.

No need for Resignation


Women that were employed by the government up until 1966 were required to leave their jobs after being married however this stopped in 1966.

Caroline Chisholm Appears on $5 Bill


Caroline Chisholm was first featured on the $5 bill. This was the first time a woman had featured on Australian money other than a Monarch.

Federal Equal Pay Case


The Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women, The Union of Australian Women and the Australian Women's Voters union contested an equal pay case before the Arbitration.

Caroline Chisholm Society founded


The Caroline Chisholm Society was founded to help single females who wanted to keep their children so they didn't have to put them up for adoption when they were born.

Germaine Greer writes The Female Eunich


The book The Female Eunich by Germains Greer sparked women to question the way that they were living and to work in roles of society.

Bank of New South Wales grants loans

February 1971

Following a campaign by the Women's Action Committee the Bank of New South Wales was the first bank in Australia to grant a loan to a woman without a male guarantor.

Equal Pay Case


An equal Pay Case results in the start of women being paid the same as men.

Helen Reddy sings "I am a Woman"


Helen Reddy released "I am Woman" which was a very popular song that women saw as a powerful message.

Women's Electoral Lobby formed

February 1972

The WEL was created at Betrice Fausts home in Melbourne by herself and nine other women. The WEL helped the labour party win the 1972 election by releasing their form guide style report on politicians and what they would do for Women's Rights.

Elizabeth Reid Appointed


In 1973 Elizabeth Reid became the first Women's adviser to the new Prime Minister Gough Whitlam

First Women's Electoral Lobby National confrence


In 1973 the first Women's Electoral Lobby national conference was held with 400 women attending.

Jeannie Little changes fashion

September 1974

Jeannie Little has been known for her fashion style and fashion has been one of the main areas of change for women since the end of World War 2. She was on television throughout the 70s and 80s however her sense in fashion was known about by family in the 60s.

Commenwealth Family Law Act


The Commonwealth Family Law Act helped to remove the negative stigma surrounding divorce and created the no-fault divorce. It also allowed a woman to leave her husband if he was of abusive nature and not be classed the guilty party. This then aided with gaining custody of property or children.

International Women's Year


Australian women celebrated in 1975 being named International Women's Year. This helped Women fight for their rights and for equality.

Dame Margaret Guilfoyle is appointed


In 1976 Margaret Guilfoyle became the first woman to be appointed a cabinet minister (Minister for Social Security) for the Fraser Government. She was also the minister for education and finance.

National Women's Advisory Council Created


In 1978 the National Women's Advisory Council was headed by Dame Beryl Beaurepaire as the first covenor.

Approval of CEDAW


In 1979, the Fraser Government showed a willingness to comply with standards by approving the international Convention on the Eliminations of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Dame Margaret Guilfoyle receives order


On the 31st December, 1979, Margaret Guilfoyle received an order of British Empire for services to public and parliamentary services.

Office of the status of Women Created


The office of the status of women was an ongoing way of advising the Prime Minister on ongoing women's issues.

Helen Williams is Appointed


In 1984, Helen Williams became the first woman to be appointed a head of Commonwealth Department.

Sex Discrimination Act


In 1984, the Sex Discrimination Act which was by the Commonwealth, made it illegal for employers to discriminate against those on the grounds of sex, marital status and pregnancy. The Sex Discrimination Act also made sexual harassment illegal.

HREOC Created


In 1984, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) was created. It was the commission that was involved in attempting to resolve complaints that were made about breaches made against the Sexual Discrimination Act and they could order compensation.

Affirmation Action act Passed.


The Affirmation Action act was an act that allowed equal opportunities for women. It was passed by the commonwealth and enforced workplaces with over 100 employees to have someone appointed to implement affirmative action and provide public reports on the progress of the affirmative action.

Mary Gaudron Appointed


In 1987, Judge Mary Gaudron was appointed as the first female High Court Judge.

Dr Carmen Lawrence becomes Premier


In 1990, Western Australia became the first state with a female Premier. She was shortly followed by Joan Kirner in Victoria (August 1990) and other states like Queensland (Anna Bligh, 2007) and New South Wales (Kristina Keneally, 2009)

Gai Waterhouse runs horses


In 1992, Gai Waterhouse first started racing horses after receiving her Australian Jockey Licence. She has brought many women into the racing industry which was a profession that was highly dictated by men. She is known as the Queen of Australian horse racing and was awarded the Australians Sports Medal in 2000

HREOC releases report "Glass Ceilings and sticky floors"


The report was a result from a Westpac initiaivite which looked at women in the banking industry and found that women's jobs were mainly: part time, of lower skills than men's jobs and provided few opportunities for promotion or the acquisition of more advanced skills. The report also noted that men dominated senior positions and that there was a reluctancy for them to promote women with children.

Dr Zelda D'Aprano receives AO


Dr Zelda D'Aprano received an Order of Australia fo rher work in campaigning on women's workplace issues. in 2004, she chained herself to the Commonwealth building in protest to the 1969 Equal Pay decision.

Anna Bligh for Premier


In 2007, Anna Bligh became the first female Premier of Queensland. She was re-elected once before losing office to now Premier, Camble Newman.

Julia for Deputy PM


In 2007, The Labour Party under the leadership of Kevin Rudd returned to head office. Julia Gillard was named Deputy Prime Minister and was the first female to do so.

Quentin Bryce for Governor General


In 2008, Quentin Bryce became Australia's first Governor General. She has inducted Julia Gillard and is recognised by having a bursary at the school she attended (Moreton Bay College).

Kristina Keneally for Premier

December 2009

In December of 2009, Kristina Keneally became the first female Premier of New South Wales.

Julia Gillard for PM


On June the 24th, 2010, Julia Gillard became Australia's first female Prime Minister. She was also made the head of the Labour Party in 2010.