Vale Hon Dr Susan Ryan AO

Again this week we mourn the loss of another formidable woman leader and feminist icon, the Hon Dr Susan Ryan AO. In her tribute, the Hon Senator Katy Gallagher observed that Susan Ryan not only led the way but created the path for other women to follow. Susan was the first woman Senator for the ACT from 1975 to 1988 (first elected when she was 33 years old and a single parent) and then the first woman appointed to Cabinet in the Hawke Labor government – serving in ministries engaged with education, youth affairs and women’s status. She was a fierce champion for gender equality, introducing into the Federal Parliament the Sex Discrimination Act of 1984 and instrumental in the Affirmative Action Act of 1986. She and former Liberal Senator and ANU Chancellor Professor Peter Baume reflected on that experience and her later experience as the first Age Discrimination Commissioner (2011-2016) for the Foundation Day Lecture at ANU in August 2018. As our Vice-Chancellor, Brian Schmidt has observed in his heartfelt tribute to her, Susan was awarded a Doctor of Laws honoris causa by the ANU in 2017 ‘for her exceptional contribution to the advancement of human rights, particularly in the areas of ageing, disability discrimination and equal opportunity’. Susan Ryan was surely one of ANU’s greatest alumna and an inspiration to us all.




Beyond ANU

Date posted

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

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