Help us to share the stories of amazing women and their work for equality


The National Library of Australia is committed to preserving and sharing the stories that have shaped Australia. Our priority for this year is to highlight the voices of women who have championed equality.

The papers of the Australian Federation of Woman Voters are part of the long story towards equality for women. This collection features a treasure trove full of the letters, notes, names, stories and voices of Australian women who were instrumental in progressing women’s rights in the post-suffrage world of the 20th century. Not happy with merely voting, they wanted to see women elected, to work for legislative change in areas that would improve the lives of women and their families, and to see women become leaders in their own right. 

Established in 1921, for the 60 years until its disbandment in 1981, the federation was a leading voice in progressing the cause of equality for women in Australia and across the globe. Leaders of the federation included notable figures such as Ruby Rich, Jessie Street and Bessie Rischbieth, all of whom were tireless campaigners who believed that getting the vote was but a stepping stone in the pursuit of equality.

The papers include speeches and correspondence from dozens of women, their names pencilled into the margins of speeches, letters, forms and notes. These women are not widely known – but they deserve to be. By digitising this collection, the work towards equality undertaken by these women will not be lost.

With your support, we can bring this important archive online, ensure these women and their stories will continue to inform and inspire future generations.

'Let us remember that the price of the privilege of democracy is that all citizens shall participate fully in public life – women as well as men.'
—Ruby Rich, 1 December 1967

You can be part of the journey towards equality for everyone


Former National Librarian Sir Harold White with two members of the Australian Federation of Women Voters.

Privacy collection notice

The National Library of Australia is committed to protecting your privacy. We are bound by and comply with our obligations under the Australian Privacy Principles outlined in Schedule 1 of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). When you make a donation to the Library, subscribe to the newsletter or seek information about supporting the Library, we will collect your personal information, including name and email address for the purpose of processing your donation and providing you with information on the Library’s activities, exhibitions and events, as well as details on future appeals.

We will only use and disclose your personal information as described in our Privacy Policy, and you consent to these disclosures.

Our Privacy Policy contains more information about how we collect, hold, use and disclose your personal information, how you can access and correct this information and how you can contact us with any questions or privacy related complaints.