Category Archives: Blog

Resisting the Triumph of Women’s Rights – Anti-Suffrage Anti-Utopias

Suffrage 125: Resisting The Triumph of Women’s Rights – Anti-Suffrage Anti-Utopias**   Utopian fiction of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries became one literary space in which writers interested in social reform, including women’s suffrage and broader gender equality, found an outlet for imagining what a different world might look...

Suffrage 125: Women, suffrage and self-determination

Did female suffrage signal the end of gendered double-standards or was it more a major stepping stone in the ongoing struggle for equality? In the nineteenth-century, under British common law, women were subordinate to men. This was reflected in the fact that women were legally subject to their fathers until...

Guest post

Imagining utopia in Catherine Helen Spence’s ‘A Week in the Future’

In her introduction to the Griffith Review volume “State of Hope”, Julianne Schultz writes of South Australia as “born of reform”,[1] and with “hope in its DNA”.[2] While Schultz notes an equally prominent history of conservatism and complacency, her characterisation of South Australia as reformist is one that echoes with...

Suffrage 125: The Petition

What is a petition? In a democracy a petition is a call to action. Petitions and petitioning were core strategies for the women’s suffrage movement in South Australia. The South Australian Parliament explains that “Petitioning Parliament is a long established fundamental right of all citizens. It allows any individual or...

Suffrage 125: Working women in the nineteenth century

Women’s Suffrage was not achieved in isolation; there were other factors that influenced its development, success, and challenges. This month we explore women’s increasing participating in the workforce, and in particular the role of the Working Women’s Trade Union. South Australia was the first place outside Britain to legalise Trade...

Suffrage 125: No voice in parliament

Imagine campaigning for legislative change without a representative voice in parliament. Can you grasp the challenges? During the campaign for women’s suffrage in South Australia women had no voice in parliament. The political rights afforded to men, and not to women, were what the Women’s Suffrage League and others were...

Suffrage 125: The First Executive

Last month we learned about the formation and role of the Women’s Suffrage League, but who were the key players? This month we explore the lives of a few key individuals from the Women’s Suffrage League, specifically those who were part of the first executive committee – that is the...

Suffrage 125: Women’s Suffrage League

When resistance occurs citizens in a democracy organise to effect change. When Dr Edward Stirling  advocated the extension of the franchise to women, the House of Assembly passed his motion affirming the desirability of recognising women’s political rights; but when the Bill was introduced to give effect to the motion,...

Suffrage 125: Temperance and women’s activism

A movement cannot happen without people, and people unite in groups to achieve big gains. This goes for women’s suffrage in South Australia too. Many groups supported the cause for equal voting rights between men and women. Before the Women’s Suffrage League (which we will learn more about next month)...

Suffrage 125: ‘The Political Franchise for Women’

It is correct to assume that the achievement of women’s suffrage in South Australia was pragmatically undertaken by women and men. Still today, women’s rights are issues for people of all gender identities, and not only the responsibility of women. One such man, Dr Edward Charles Stirling (1848-1919), a surgeon,...