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28 July 1888 Women’s Suffrage League

 28 July 1888 Women’s Suffrage League

As reported in the register of 28 July 1888 the constitution of the Women’s Suffrage League, which had been formed at a public meeting on 20 July, contained the clauses:

That the women of the country should have a voice in the choice of representatives to the House of Legislature.

The League also believed that women should have the dame voting rights as men although they did not specifically claim the right to sit as representatives. Dr Stirling was the chairman of the Council of 24 elected members and Mary Lee was one of the secretaries. It was seven years before the women won their fight for the right to vote, but it was another 30 years before a woman was endorsed as a candidate for a political party. This as Agnes Goode who stood for the Liberal Party in 1924, the first woman endorsed as a Labor candidate was Marie Skitch in 1938. Nancy Buttfield, daughter of Sir Edward Holden, became the first South Australian woman to enter federal politics when she was appointed to fill a vacancy in the Senate in 1955 and retained her seat at the next election. In 1959 two women won seats for the Liberal Party in the SA Parliament; they were Jessie Cooper in the Legislative Council and Joyce Steele in the House of Assembly. In 1963 Joyce Steele was appointed Government Whip and in 1968 Minister for Education. The first female Labor member was Molly Byrne in 1965. These women paved the way for others to follow into a political career.

Helen Jones, In Her Own Name, Wakefield Press, 1986, pp.86 & 277-79.

Tags: Lee Mary, Stirling Dr, Women’s Suffrage League