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    Senator Susan Ryan, Minister for Education and Youth Affairs explaining the reasons for grants reduction, 1984, by Marlee Maxwell, courtesy of Marlee Maxwell. Courtesy of Australian National University (ANU). Used with permission..
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Exhibitions

  • From Lady Denman to Katy Gallagher: A Century of Women's Contributions to Canberra
  • The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia

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Ryan, Susan (1942 - )

AO

Born
10 October 1942
Maroubra, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation
Parliamentarian and Educator

Summary

Susan Ryan was appointed the first Labor Senator for the Australian Capital Territory, in 1975. In the Federal Parliament she was the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister Bob Hawke on the Status of Women 1983-88 and the Minister for Education, 1984-87. She presided over the passage of the federal government's Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and the Affirmative Action (Equal Opportunities in Employment) Act 1986. She later worked in the plastics industry, and in superannuation.
In July 2011 she was appointed to the newly created position of Age Discrimination Commissioner with the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Details

Susan Ryan was awarded her BA from the University of Sydney in 1962, and MA in English Literature from the Australian National University in 1972. She worked as a school teacher in 1963 and then tutor in English Literature at ANU between 1970-72.

Ryan was a founding member of the Belconnen Branch of the ALP in 1969, and was later Vice-President of the Branch. She was delegate to the ALP ACT Branch Council between 1973-76. Ryan attended the World Conference on Women in Mexico City in 1975 and the United Nations Decade for Women Conference in Copenhagen in 1980. She was a member of the ALP Federal Policy Committee on Women and Education Officer of the International Women's Year Secretariat.

Elected as one of the first of two Senators for the ACT and the first Labor Senator for the ACT in 1975, Ryan served on a number of parliamentary committees between 1975-83. She was a member of the Council of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies 1981-83; member of the Opposition Shadow Ministery, Dec 1977-March 1983; Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Hawke Labor Government, 1983; Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Status of Women, 1983-88; Minister for Education, Dec 1984; and Special Minister of State including responsibilities for the bicentenary, the National Campaign Against Drug Abuse and the implementation of the Australia Card program. She advocated for the Senate to pass the Sex Discrimination Bill 1982 and enact the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination, the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and the Affirmative Action (Equal Opportunities in Employment) Act 1986. Ryan resigned as Minister and Senator in January 1988.

Following her resignation she worked as Publishing Editor of Penguin Books in 1988 and Executive Director of the Plastics Industry Association Inc in 1989. She has been Executive Director of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia since 1993.

Susan Ryan was a founding member of the Women's Electoral Lobby, ACT Branch. She was awarded the Order of Australia in 1990.

Sources used to compile this entry: From Lady Denman to Katy Gallagher: A Century of Women's Contributions to Canberra, Australian Women's Archives Project, February 2013, http://www.womenaustralia.info/exhib/ldkg; 'Person Description - CP 435 - Susan Maree Ryan Law', in RecordSearch, http://naa12.naa.gov.au/scripts/SearchOld.asp?Number=CP+435.

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Digital resources

Title
Senator Susan Ryan, Minister for Education and Youth Affairs explaining the reasons for grants reduction
Type
Image
Date
1984
Creator
Marlee Maxwell
Source
Marlee Maxwell. Courtesy of Australian National University (ANU). Used with permission.

Details

Elle Morrell

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

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

http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0025b.htm

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