Ms Represented

An illuminating but incomplete exposé on women’s electoral struggle
ABC iView
by Michelle Staff and Joshua Black
ABR Arts 30 August 2021

Ms Represented

An illuminating but incomplete exposé on women’s electoral struggle
ABC iView
by Michelle Staff and Joshua Black
ABR Arts 30 August 2021
A promotional image for Ms Represented featuring Annabel Crabb (ABC iView)
A promotional image for Ms Represented featuring Annabel Crabb (ABC iView)

12 March 1921: after four weeks of hard campaigning as a Nationalist candidate in the Western Australian state election, Edith Cowan received the news that she had won the seat of West Perth by forty-six votes, making her Australia’s first ever woman parliamentarian. Cowan was shocked: initially she didn’t want to run and discounted her chances of success. As the sole winner among five women candidates across the state, Cowan saw hers as a victory for all women. She used her new position to build on the social welfare and reform work in which she had been involved since the 1890s, promoting motherhood endowment, sex education, migrant welfare and infant health centres. Though her time in office was short (1921–24), Cowan had made history in taking a seat at the parliamentary table.

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