Resource Type

Women's Right's Movement

  • History
  • Society and Culture
  • Unit 2: Movements for Change in the 20th century
  • Women's Studies

Women’s Right’s Movement

The Women’s Movement in South Australia began with the struggle for female suffrage – that is, the right of women to vote.

The women’s movement has never been a singular, unified entity. Instead, the term loosely brings together groups and individuals whose ideals, affiliations, and activism, have varied considerably. Women from different geographic locations, historic moments, races, religions, and so on, have held very different, and sometimes conflicting views, but what unites them – at least at a fundamental level – is their focus on women.

So many of the rights and freedoms we take for granted today were achieved by those involved in the women’s movement. There is still much to be achieved and the role of activists and of women, and feminist organisations is no less important today than it was in the early days of the colony.

Women's Right's Movement



Year 10


AC9HH10K07 – the effects of significant post–World War II world events, ideas and developments on Australian society

AC9HH10K08 – the causes of changes in perspectives, responses, beliefs and values on migration that have influenced Australian society since 1945

AC9HH10K12 – the significant events, individuals and groups in the women’s movement in Australia, and how they have changed the role and status of women

AC9HH10K16 – causes and effects of the significant events and developments of the major global influences on Australia in the post-World War II period

AC9HH10K17 – changing social, political, economic, cultural, environmental and technological conditions, and the causes of a major global influence in Australia

AC9HH10K18 – continuities and changes in perspectives, responses, beliefs and values that have influenced the Australian way of life


Modern History

Society and Culture

Women’s Studies

Discussion Questions

What is gender stereotyping? Does it persist in society today?

The release of the contraceptive pill was ground-breaking and divisive in the 1960s, and women worldwide had to fight for unrestricted access to it. Why do you think the democratisation of the pill had such a massive, long-term impact on society? What does this mean for women around the world who still cannot access the contraceptive pill, whether due to religion, restrictive laws or economic access?

There is still a significant gender gap amongst political representatives: after the 2019 Federal election women
held only 23% of Liberal party seats (lower house and Senators), and 47% of Labor party seats. Discuss why you think this discrepancy persists, and why it is important to correct.


Use this video in conjunction with the “Social Movements in South Australia: a Guide for Teachers” to get the most out of your learning

Social Movements in South Australia

Where to Next?

To learn more about the Women’s Right’s Movement

Visit the Centre of Democracy

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