Airdate: Utopia Girls

Well-known actors appear in this doco that tells the story of how Australian women became the first in the world to gain full political rights.

Next week ABC1 screens Utopia Girls, a documentary that tells the story of how Australian women became the first in the world to gain full political rights. That was in South Australia if my Trivial Pursuit recall is correct.

Presented by Historian Dr Clare Wright (The Einstein Factor), this features well-known actors reciting from contemporary texts including Tom Budge, David Field, Alice Garner, Nicholas Hope, Simon Maiden, Barry Otto, Anna Lise Phillips, Alexandra Schepisi and Kerry Walker.

Women in the 19th century had virtually no political rights. Once they married they signed over everything to their husbands (including their children). If the marriage turned abusive it was almost impossible to escape. Worse still was the fate of unmarried mothers. Improving the lot of all women could only be achieved through political representation.

This representation came about through the vision and hard work of five remarkable women – Caroline Dexter, Henrietta Dugdale, Louisa Lawson, Mary Lee and Vida Goldstein. With their comrades, they would carry the flag over half a century until a newly federated Australia could claim its title as a uniquely democratic nation, but their stories were not without personal trials and crushing setbacks.

ABC1’s broadcast coincides almost 110 years to the day since women were granted the right to vote at a federal level and to stand for election to the Parliament of Australia via the Commonwealth Franchise Act.

9:30pm Thursday June 14th ABC1.

2 Responses

  1. I’d like to point out that this statement-
    “These days, we all enjoy equal rights and seemingly endless choices.” is total garbage from a males perspective when it’s related to law and especially to family law.
    Laws and support systems are grossly in favor of women especially so when a child is young and that is regardless of whom is parenting the children.
    Whilst feminism has achieved much in a positive sense to balance certain aspects of our culture the ongoing gross imbalance of the courts increase welfare dependance, actually increase family breakdown, promote and reward perjury, reward poor parenting, add to the suicide rate and most certainly increase delinquency among our youth.

  2. David, you are correct (in terms of women both being able to vote and to stand for parliament), but our cousins across the ditch were the first country to give women the vote.

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