• 16Oct

    Update: ABC television did a programme on Muriel Matters on Sunday: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/programs/muriel-matters/

    Muriel Matters
    This information comes directly from the Muriel Matters Society

     

    Muriel Lilah Matters (November 12, 1877 – November 17, 1969) was an Australian born suffragist, lecturer, journalist, educator, actress and elocutionist.
    Matters was an extremely prominent member of a critical mass of people agitating for women’s suffrage in London.
    Matters is most recognised for chaining herself to the grille of the Ladies’ Gallery in the British House of Commons on 28 October 1908. The ‘grille’ was a piece of ironwork placed in the Ladies’ Gallery that obscured the women’s view of parliamentary debates. A symbol of the oppression of women in a male-dominated society, it was her firm conviction the grille should be removed.

     

    Her non-violent solution to chain herself to the grille was the centre-piece of a larger protest conducted by the Women’s Freedom League. While attached to the grille Matters, by a legal technicality, was judged to be on the floor of Parliament and thus, the words spoken by her that day are still considered to be the first delivered by a woman in the House of Commons.

     

    votes for women

     

    Matters is also identified with attempting to shower King Edward VII and the British Houses of Parliament with handbills dropped from an airship on 16 February 1909.
    The South Australian Parliamentary Library Reading Room has been named in honour of Muriel Matters on 5 August 2014.

    Muriel Matters room
    A docudrama Muriel Matters!, featuring the suffragette’s story, premiered at the Adelaide Film Festival on Sunday, 13 October, 2013 and screened on ABC1 .

    film of muriel matters
    Photo from The Guardian

     

    For more information: https://www.facebook.com/murielmatterssociety
    https://twitter.com/MurielMattersSA

  • 26Jun

    Emma Miller

    Happy birthday to Emma Miller

    One of Australia’s first leaders in women’s suffrage, and a major fighter for women workers’ rights, Emma Miller was the foundation president of Queensland’s Women’s Equal Franchise Association.
    She campaigned for equal pay and equal opportunity for women in the workplace.
    Along with May Jordan, she formed the first women’s union in Brisbane in September 1890
    The Women’s Equal Franchise Association fought for the right of women to vote, under the banner “one woman, one vote“. The Association triumphed in 1902, with women allowed to vote in federal elections. Women were enfranchised under the Federal Electoral Act on 9 April 1902, becoming the first women of the world to win the right to vote for a national parliament. (Women in New Zealand won the right to vote in colonial elections in 1893)
    Members of the Woman’s Equal Franchise Association actively canvassed for the women’s vote for the December 1903 Federal election, by forming the Women Workers’ Political Organisation with Emma Miller as president.
    On 2 February 1912, 73-year-old Emma Miller led a contingent of women on a march to Brisbane’s Parliament House.
    She was also involved in anti-conscription activism over the course of World War I by joining the Women’s Peace Army when Cecilia John and Adela Pankhurst visited Brisbane in 1915.
    A memorial statue is in King George Square, Brisbane. There is also an Emma Miller Place located off Roma Street in Brisbane. The Emma Miller Award is presented each year by the Queensland Council of Unions to women who have made an outstanding contribution to their Union.

    Information from the Australian Women’s History forum    and Wikipedia