Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

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    WEL banner made by WEL-ACT member Julie McCarron-Benson, courtesy of Courtesy of Gail Radford. Used with permission..
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Exhibitions

  • The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia

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Women's Electoral Lobby (1972 - )

From
February 1972
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Occupations
Lobby group
Alternative Names
  • WEL
  • WEL Australia
Website
http://www.wel.org.au

Summary

The Women's Electoral Lobby (WEL) was established in Melbourne in 1972 by Beatrice Faust. She was inspired by feminists in the United States who had been rating presidential candidates. The organisation quickly spread to Sydney, Adelaide and Canberra and in 1978 WEL Australia was formed as a coalition of state, territory and regional groups. Primarily a women's political lobby group, WEL surveyed political candidates and their policies affecting women, wrote submissions and developed media skills for women to lobby for the inclusion of women in the area of government policy. Originally the WEL campaign was based on six demands: equal pay, equal employment opportunity, equal access to education, free contraceptive services, abortion on demand and free 24-hour childcare.

Details

In February 1972, feminist Beatrice Faust invited ten women to a meeting in her Carlton house to discuss the forthcoming Federal election. They decided to survey election candidates on issues of special interest to women, as Ms Magazine had done in the USA during a recent presidential campaign.

By the second meeting the initial membership had doubled, and 130 women attended the third meeting a short time later.

Early the following year, there was a Victorian state election, and WEL organised a major forum in Dallas Brooks Hall, bringing together on stage the leaders of all five current political parties to answer the question:
Why should women vote for you?

WEL's first national conference in Canberra in 1973 was attended by 400 women.

Sources used to compile this entry: Caine, Barbara, 'Greenwood, Irene', in Caine, Barbara (ed.), Australian feminism : a companion, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1998, pp. 429-430; Lake, Marilyn, Getting Equal: The History of Australian Feminism, Allen & Unwin, St Leonards, New South Wales, 1999, 316 pp; http://www.wel.org.au/index.htm.

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Archival resources

Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales

  • Edna Ryan Papers, 1965 - 1986, ML MSS 4786; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details
  • Edna Ryan, Further Papers, 19611, ML MSS 4786 ADD-ON 2090; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details
  • Pat Richardson scrapbooks relating to the Women's Electoral Lobby and women's events, 1977 - 1999, PXA 634; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details
  • Women's Electoral Lobby - records, 1960s - 1990s, Ask for: Original : MLMSS; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

  • Collection of realia and papers relating to women's issues and organisations, 1975 - 1997, MS 8541; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Dulcie Bethune Speeches, MS 5110; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Papers of Dale Sara Dowse (1938-), 1958 - 1998, MS 7365; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Papers of Edna Ryan, 1948 - 1993, MS 9140; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Papers of Meredith Hinchliffe, 1957 - 1981, MS 5139; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Papers of Meredith Stokes, 1971 - 1988, MS 9486; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Records of the Women's Electoral Lobby (Australia), 1972 - 1991, MS 3683; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details

Northern Territory Archives Service, Darwin Branch

  • Women's Electoral Lobby Darwin, 1975 - 1986, NTRS 1834-1836; Northern Territory Archives Service, Darwin Branch. Details

State Library of South Australia, Mortlock Library of South Australiana

  • International Women's Day Committee Research Project : Summary Record [sound recording] Interviewers: Celia Frank and Kirstin Marks, 1993 - 1994, OH 210; State Library of South Australia, Mortlock Library of South Australiana. Details

The University of Melbourne Archives

  • Bebbington, Julie, 1970 - 1990, 100/166; The University of Melbourne Archives. Details
  • Bethune, Dulcie, 1971 - 1975, 75/54; The University of Melbourne Archives. Details
  • Cameron, Barbara, 1972, 83/98; Cameron, Barbara; The University of Melbourne Archives. Details
  • Records of Zelda D'Aprano, 1969 - 1975, 75/58; The University of Melbourne Archives. Details
  • Women's Electoral Lobby records, 1972 - 2000, Several accessions; The University of Melbourne Archives. Details
  • Women's Liberation Movement, Accession Number 75 49; The University of Melbourne Archives. Details

Digital resources

Title
WEL banner made by WEL-ACT member Julie McCarron-Benson
Type
Image
Source
Courtesy of Gail Radford. Used with permission.

Details

Elle Morrell and Jane Carey

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0021b.htm

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