Happiness leaves little trace in history

Happiness, whether in business or private life, leaves very little trace in history.
— Fernand Braudel

Agree or disagree?

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Undisturbed happiness, cartoon, 1855


Have not learned their history

Those who expect moments of change to be comfortable and free of conflict have not learned their history.
— Joan Wallach Scott

Agree or disagree? Also does anyone know what the United Women’s Movement was?


Demonstration by the United Women’s Movement against the gas strike, Melbourne, Victoria, 1947

Getting ready for a deep dive into women’s history

Inspired by International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, I have been looking at what resources are available if you are ready for a deep dive into women’s history.

One place to find resources is the Australian Women’s History Network (AWHN) website. The AWHN promotes research and writing in all fields of women’s history.  It brings together academics, students and others working in women’s history to exchange ideas, information, support and resources.

They have done a great job pulling together information to support people who want to find out more about women’s history. Details below or have a look at their resources page.

GOLD STAR to the Australian Women’s History Network for creating these really useful resources to promote women’s history.


Postcard of unidentified woman, 1930


A world that never has existed

Everything that explains the world has in fact explained a world that does not exist, a world in which men are at the centre of the human enterprise and women are at the margin ‘helping’ them. Such a world does not exist — never has.
— Gerda Lerner

Agree or disagree?

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Women assaulting a non-unionist at the re-opening of the Broken Hill mine, 1892





Women’s History Month in Australia

March is the month of women. In many parts of the world International Women’s Day (8 March) celebrations are strengthened by making March Women’s History Month.

Women’s History Month originated in the United States. It started with a school system in California recognising that the history of women was missing from their curriculum, and initiating a Women’s History Week celebration in 1978 to help fill the gap. The idea caught on in a big way. These days Women’s History Month in the United States is such a big deal it is the subject of a Presidential Proclamation. Read here for the 2018 one.

In Australia, Women’s History Month seems to have had a more patchy uptake. The month was first celebrated in Australia in 2000. It was initiated by Helen Leonard, convenor of the National Women’s Media Centre (1989 to 2003), working with the Women’s Electoral Lobby.

Women’s History Month highlighted a different theme each year. Organisations, institutions and community groups were encouraged to use this theme for their own events through website promotional material and were supported by an online calendar where events were listed.

In 2007, the Women’s History Month website was upgraded and renamed the Australian Women’s History Forum. The plan was to develop a more interactive role for the group’s membership, which would extend beyond the one month celebration. Women’s History Month continued on-line for another six years, ending in 2013. It seems a key factor in its demise was it was unable to move beyond the small volunteer force that had initiated the event.

GOLD STAR to these Women’s History Month in Australia pioneers who kept it going for more than ten years.

Do you think Australia needs Women’s History Month? How do you think it could be kicked off again? Or are you already celebrating Women’s History Month?



Australian women working in a munitions factory (World War II)


The best of times, the worst of times

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.
― Charles Dickens

Does this sound like now? Agree or disagree?



International Women’s Day — the early years

The uprising of the 20,000 and the first Women’s Day explained how International Women’s Day started with The Socialist Party of America in 1909 dedicating a day (28 February) to commemorate the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York.

In 1910 the day became international. The Socialist International, meeting in Copenhagen, established a Women’s Day, to honour the fight for women’s rights and to support universal suffrage for women. The conference of over 100 women from 17 countries unanimously approved the proposal.

International Women’s Day may have had a slow start in Australia. The first time it is mentioned in Australian newspapers seems to be in 1915. The article The Socialist International Women’s Day was published on 3 June 1915 in the Worker (Brisbane, Qld. : 1890 – 1955). You can read it here or below.

As you can see from this article the early concerns of International Women’s Day were shaped by the First World War. The day became a day to press for peace and to express solidarity with other like-minded activists.

In 1917 Russian women chose to protest and strike for ‘Bread and Peace’ on the last Sunday in February (8 March on the Gregorian calendar). Four days later, the Czar abdicated and the new provisional Government granted Russian women the right to vote.


first IWD