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