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The Australian National University

How the personal became political: symposium reflects on the past and considers the future

On the 6th and 7th March the How the Personal Became Political 2-day symposium was held. The symposium was the Gender Institute's Signature Event for 2017 and also celebrated International Women’s Day. 

The symposium explored events, transformations, policy changes and watershed developments in gender and sexuality in Australia in the 1970s. How and why did matters previously considered private and personal, become public and political? What were the key policy shifts? How were protests in the streets connected to legislative reforms? Who were the critical players and what were the dramatic moments? How was resistance to change manifested, and what fears were articulated? How did differences of race, class, religion, age and locality matter? How did Australia fit into the broader transnational movements for change? What have been the legacies?

The keynote speaker at the symposium was Elizabeth Reid (AO, FASSA, FAIIA), the first adviser on women’s affairs to any head of government, appointed by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1973. A podcast of Elizabeth's lecture is available for download below. She is pictured at the symposium below with Sara Dowse and Lyndall Ryan, who were senior femocrats in the Office of Women’s Affairs in the mid-late 1970s under PMs Whitlam and Fraser.

» podcast (mp3, 53.80MB)

(From left, Sara Dowse, Elizabeth Reid, Lyndall Ryan)

This event was supported by the Gender Institute and Australian Feminist Studies.





ANU, Gender Institute

Date posted

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Updated:  7 November 2012/Responsible Officer:  Convenor, Gender Institute/Page Contact:  Web manager, Gender Institute