Su­per women wanted

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS -

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.

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