Tuesday, 12 August 2014

A woman's right we now take for granted

"A woman's opinions are useless to her, she may suffer unjustly, she may be wronged, but she has no power to weightily petitions against man's laws, no representatives to urge her views, her only method to produce release, redress, or change, is to ceaselessly agitate."
Louisa Lawson, speech to the inaugural meeting of the Dawn Club. Published in July 1889.

How many people know about the suffragette movement from back in the late 1800's and early 1900's?

I think many of young women nowadays would have no idea about the movement and that I think is a sad thing, these women work hard for women's rights.

The term suffragette refers to the mobilisation of the suffrage movement in America, England, Australia and New Zealand between the 1880s and the 1920s.

There was a number of organisations that were instrumental in the struggle for women to be granted the right to vote. The Australian Women's Suffrage Society was formed in 1889, its aims was to obtain the same rights for women as were possessed by male voters.

They argued for equal justice and equal privileges in marriage and divorce, rights to property and the custody of their children in divorce. So not just for the right for all women to be able to vote in all elections which I think is what most people associate the suffragettes with.

New Zealand women had first in the world to be granted the right to vote in the national election on the 19th September 1893.

In Australia it was South Australian women who were granted the right to vote first in 1894, followed by women in Western Australia in 1899, my state New South Wales granted women the right to vote in 1902, Victorian women were last to get the right to vote in 1908.
Australian women first voted in the second federal election in 1903, except for Aboriginal women. It wasn't till 1962 that Aboriginal women were granted the right to vote in federal elections.

However, Aboriginal males had the right to vote from as early as the 1850's although most people would tell you they didn't get the right to vote till 1967 when there was a referendum to have the constitution changed to allow the Commonwealth to make laws for Aboriginals and to include them in the census.

However, as I said Aboriginals already had the right to vote although most of them didn't know it. Legally their rights date back to the colonial times. When New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia wrote their constitutions in the 1850's the gave the right to vote to all male British subjects over the age of 21 which included Aboriginal males.

In 1895 when South Australia gave women the right to vote and sit in parliament Aboriginal women were included it was in fact only Queensland and Western Australia that barred Aborigines from voting.

Very few Aborigines knew their rights so very few voted. But some eventually did. Point McLeay, a mission station near the mouth of the Murray, got a polling station in the 1890s. Aboriginal men and women voted there in South Australian elections and voted for the first Commonwealth Parliament in 1901.

Most states did not allow women to be elected to the state parliaments until the end of the First World War.

Another key association in the struggle for equal voting rights was the Women's Christian Temperance Union formed on the 16th November 1887, the society sought social reforms which included establishing equal moral standards for both sexes.


CWMartin said...

I hadn't realized that the right to divorce was such a big factor for women's rights back then until some of the research I did on my WWI posts. Well done!

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Jo-Anne,
And still I bet you that about two thirds of the world's women have NO rights in a male dominant and often extremely violent world... We are all so fortunate and so spoiled compared to the multitude of women.
Sending you hugs,

diane b said...

I agree with Mariette, there are so many women in the world who are still treated like underdogs. Even in our own modern society some women are still treated poorly by some men. It is still hard for them to reach the level of males in some jobs. Just look at our present Federal Govt. Only one woman in the cabinet.

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

Thank you I had no idea it was an issue myself till I researched for this post

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

You are so right, which is why I get annoyed when I hear women in my country act like it is the norm to be treated in the way they are, so many do not have equal rights or any rights at all when it comes to that but that would be for another post.

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

So bloody true and it is so wrong but I think most young women in this country do not realise how hard it is for women in other countries and yes there is still things that need to change even here in the luck country

Rita said...

Very interesting. US women were way after the Aussie women. Good for Australia! We still don't even have equal pay over here in most cases. Men still rule the roost over here on the whole. But, like others have said, the majority of women of the world sadly still have no rights. We need to remember that.

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

Yeah we don't have equal pay across the board either but it is better than it use to be and we are lucky to be living in this country as we are better off than many in the world

Janie Junebug said...

It's a shame that so many people don't vote although their forebears fought so hard for the right. Your posts are especially interesting lately.


Rick Watson said...

I think women are still treated as second-class citizens. Young people from around the world she read and learn from history.
Good post.

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

I know it annoys me when I hear women complaining about voting if only they understood what so many women went through in order for us to have the right to vote

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

I agree, there are so many countries that do not treat their women right and I think history is important and something all young people should be interested in learning about

Update on mum

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