Dr Clare Wright, a leading academic commentator on women’s history, states that ‘feminism and federalism were intertwined’.

Listen to Clare Wright give an alternative view on the ‘birth of our nation’:

Dr Wright contests the common belief that Australia was born on the shores of Gallipoli. She believes that it happened much earlier, with federalism and women’s suffrage.

  • Do you think Wright is correct?
  • What celebrations and monuments do we have in Australia to commemorate our military achievements?
  • How do we commemorate federalism and feminism? How are young people encouraged to connect with these parts of our history?
  • Imagine you have been tasked with designing and building a monument to women’s suffrage to stand in Canberra alongside our other national institutions.
  • How would you get young Australians involved?

Choose one of the women explored in this unit who have fought for women’s rights. Write a short biography of that person. In researching their life, consider:

  • their background and personal story and how this led them to become involved in the women’s movement
  • the era in which they were most effective, and what was happening in the wider women’s movement at that time
  • their achievements and the effects these had on the women’s movement.

Consider a range of propaganda and advertisements used over the last 150 years to:

  • reinforce the gendered assumptions of the time
  • recruit women into wartime roles
  • cultivate compassion towards women and women’s issues (including domestic violence, abortion rights and pay equality). How have the imagery and messages changed over time?

Prepare a three-minute speech to deliver your classmates about an Australian Aboriginal woman who has made inroads into Indigenous women’s rights in Australia. You might consider speaking about: Faith Bandler, Pearl Gibbs, Lowitja O’Donoghue, Evelyn Scott, Gladys Elphick, Joyce Clague, Megan Davis, or another Indigenous woman.