When the Personal Became Political: Re-Assessing Australia’s Revolutions in Gender and Sexuality in the 1970s Australian Feminist Studies

Australian Feminist Studies

When the Personal Became Political: Re-Assessing Australia’s Revolutions in Gender and Sexuality in the 1970s

An Australian Feminist Studies virtual special issue edited by Michelle Arrow and Angela Woollacott.

We are delighted to partner with Australian Feminist Studies to produce this virtual special issue to coincide with the ANU Gender Institute Symposium, ‘How the Personal Became Political: Reassessing Australia’s revolutions in gender and sexuality in the 1970s’. Australian Feminist Studies was a product of these revolutions, established in 1985 in response to the expansion of women’s studies in Australian universities. The journal was founded to serve as a forum for interdisciplinary research and as a site for feminist discussion and debate. It offers a unique vantage point from which to view Australian feminism’s diverse histories.

When she was appointed by the Australian Labor Government of Gough Whitlam in 1973, our keynote speaker, Elizabeth Reid, AO, was the first such women’s advisor to a national leader appointed anywhere worldwide. Her address prompted us to revisit the significant body of scholarship on the relationship between the women’s movement and the state, much of it first published in Australian Feminist Studies

The full introduction to this virtual special issue can be accessed via the links below.

Free access articles can be read here.
Articles are freely available until the end of December, 2017. We hope that you enjoy reading this issue!

The women's movement and the state

If Elizabeth Reid was the 1970s women’s movement’s most prominent member in government, the relationship between the movement and the state became emblematic of Australian feminism. International feminists came to recognise the term…


The women's movement and the academy

If feminists’ inclusion in government was both revolutionary and fraught, so too was the eruption of Women’s Studies on Australian university campuses. As women students read and wrote feminist tracts, and engaged in political activism, the…


The Personal becomes Political

Catherine Kevin’s ‘Maternity and Freedom’ situates feminist campaigns around women’s reproductive autonomy within the longer history of Australian pronatalism and conceptions of female citizenship. Kevin reminds us that before the rise of…


Feminism and Cultural Production

The archives of Australian Feminist Studies contain several articles on women’s cultural production of the 1970s: women’s liberationists worked in film, theatre and art, just as they sought to intervene in law, policy, and in transforming…



Sue Wills’ chronology of Sydney Women’s Liberation (published in two parts with an introductory note) offers a fascinating and detailed window onto the activities of Women’s Liberation in one Australian city between 1970 and 1980. The…


Free Access Articles

The below articles are free to access until the end of December, 2017. Simply select the link(s) of your choice below to begin reading. 

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