Super women wanted
FROM suffragette movement members and scientists, to community volunteers and Paralympians, many West Australian women have helped shaped the fabric of the state.
To tie in with International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8, eight more women will be inducted into the WA Women’s Hall of Fame, with community nominations open.
IWD Collective representative Carole Theobald said they aimed to acknowledge and celebrate women who have helped create the history of the state and those who still make extraordinary contributions.
She said a group of WA women changed history in the 1890s, fed up with the drunkenness and violence brought about by the influx of residents attracted by gold mining.
Ms Theobald said that group formed the Women’s Christian Temperance Union Karrakatta Club for Women, before uniting to form the Women’s Franchise League, which campaigned for suffrage and helped secure women the vote in 1900.
Hall of Fame inductee Bessie Rischbieth was one member of the cause who later represented Australia on the International Alliance of Women for Suffrage and Equal Citizenship.
“She was held up in London when the World War was declared and so she helped Australian servicemen in the Boomerang Club,” Ms Theobald said.
“In the later years she took up conservation and the Conservation Council has an award in her name nowadays.
“In her late 80s she was still wading into the Swan River to stop the bulldozers and the Narrows reformation being built; she was amazing.”
She was also a founding member of the Children’s Protection Society in 1906 and a president of the Women’s Service Guilds of WA that successfully lobbied for the creation of King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women in 1916.
Ms Rischbieth and Roberta Joel, the first female medical practitioner in WA, along with a group of WA female movers and shakers, helped Edith Cowan’s election to parliament, the first woman elected in Australia.
International Women's Day Collective’s Carole Theobald dressed as WA Women's Hall of Fame inductee Edith Cowan.