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Women's Movement Page 5

International Women's Day


The first International Women's Day (IWD) was celebrated on 19 March 1911 in Germany and Austria to agitate to women's suffrage. In Australia the first celebration was a march in Melbourne on 8 March 1931 and the first committee was formed in Sydney in 1936. In South Australia the first committee was formed in 1938 but the first celebrations were not held until after World War II when an event was held at the Adelaide Town Hall in 1946. The first IWD march in Adelaide occurred in on March 12 1972.

The IWD Committee of SA Inc., organises the annual Luncheon, but it is the IWD Collective, a separate group, that organises the rally, march and festival, and UNIFEM that has organised the IWD Breakfast since the early 1990s. Although each group is distinct they work  work co-operatively supporting each other's functions, their events being featured in the special Calendar produced each year by the Office for Women.

At the IWD luncheon the IWD Committee presents awards such as the Irene Bell Award, the Irene Krastev Award, the Barbara Polkinghorne Award and the Gladys Elphick Award to women and groups who have demonstrated community spirit and work.

Women's Electoral Lobby (WEL)

WEL is a national independent political organisation dedicated to creating a society where women's participation and potential are unrestricted, acknowledged and respected and where women and men share equally in society's responsibilities and rewards.

The Women's Electoral Lobby (South Australia) was formed prior to the federal election in July 1972, with the aim of raising women's participation and awareness of the electoral process and issues important to women.

The first public meeting was held in the Unley Town Hall on 4 October 1972 to hear the candidates for Boothby, Anne Levy, John McLeay and Richard Llewellyn, speak. Other early meetings were held at Bloor House, The Women's Liberation Centre and activities expanded quickly to cover issues such as fertility choice, women and advertising, child care, and discrimination against women.

In December 1972 the first WEL (SA) Newsletter was published to keep members informed of WEL activities, and it continues to be published several times a year.  

The first Annual General Meeting was held on the 31st July 1973 at Bloor House and was attended by 55 women. The announcement of 1975 as the International Women's Year gave WEL added impetus, activities and media attention. Issues addressed continued to be diverse and numerous, members writting submissions to federal, state and local government on issues as diverse as the Vietnam War, pollution of the Murray River, the rights of mental health patients, and the establishment of a Women's Centre at St. Peters.

In February 1979 WEL (SA) organised the WEL National Conference, held over three days at Lincoln College, it included workshops on family law, welfare and health, the environment, education and women, power and information.

In 1980 WEL (SA) joined with other women's groups to organise the first Reclaim the Night march in South Australia.  The first march internationally had been in Rome in 1976 to protest sexual violence against women and children. The concept quickly spread around the world and the first Australian march was in 1978. On the evening of Friday 27 February 1981 several hundred women marched from Light Square down Hindley Street to Rundle Mall.

Women's Electoral Lobby continues to meet regularly in South Australia, publish it's newsletter, WEL Read, and advocate for women in all areas of society and politics. http://www.wel.org.au/index.php/south-australia/

"Suitcase Parade" of women opposed to changes to six o'
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"Votes for women" more in the air than ever
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Abortion in SA legalised
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Candidate for Parliament
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Catherine Helen Spence
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Catherine Helen Spence and Helen Brodie Spence
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Catherine Helen Spence, 1825-1905 : this for rememberan
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Certificate of Membership
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Certificate of membership, verso
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Eliza Davies
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Elizabeth Scarce and members of the International Women
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Feminist governor
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