“Making Women Count: A History of the Women’s Electoral Lobby in Australia“ by long-time WEL member Marian Sawer, published by UNSW Press, Sydney 2008. This story explores the effect of WEL both on politics and on the lives of women who discovered the power of sisterhood. It is the first full-scale history of WEL and draws on extensive archival, survey and media evidence. It challenges much social movement theory, showing women’s movement continuity over time. Marian Sawer is an Adjunct Professor in School of Social Sciences, ANU. Visit the WEL Australia website wel.org.au to order the book.
“Getting Equal: The History of Australian Feminism” by Marilyn Lake, Allen & Unwin, 1999. This book is the first full-length history of the women’s movements who fought for women’s political and economic rights, sexual rights and the right to control their bodies. Leading historian Marilyn Lake, Professor of History at La Trobe University, challenges common misconceptions and offers new interpretations of politics. It is her hope that a knowledge of the complexity of the past will enable us to be more clear-sighted about what remains to be done.
“Challenging Women: Towards Equality in the Parliament of Victoria“ by Dr Madeline Grey. In 1972 Women’s Electoral Lobby politicised a new generation of feminists. One of their aims was to increase the number of women in parliament and make a difference to the culture and practice of politics. Did this happen? For the first time, the history of getting women into the Parliament of Victoria and their experiences once there is explored. From the foundation of WEL to the launch of EMILY’s List, this book analyses historical sources, original interviews and primary material.
“The Host Behind: The Campaign for a Victorian Women’s Centre” by Barbara Cameron, 2005. In August 1986 a public meeting was held in Melbourne to protest the Government sale of a major hospital for women. This meeting resolved that the hospital must be retained and the buildings preserved. Later a group of women staged sit-ins outside the hospital with petitions to stake their claim to the site. This book takes you on a 100-year journey to the establishment of the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre.
“The Lost Mother” by Anne Summers, Melbourne University Press, 2009. Anne’s mother posed for several portraits by famous Melbourne artist Constance Stokes as a child. These pictures went missing for many years and Anne Summers recounts her search for information and the second picture, revealing fascinating chronicles about the artists and collectors of early Melbourne.
“My Mother, My Writing and Me” by Iola Mathews, Michelle Anderson, Melbourne, 2009. A well-written book about the struggle to write in a quiet place without distractions of family loyalties and occupations.