Agora (2021/Issue 1) – Women in History

Agora is a journal of curated professional reading for history teachers. This digital download of the latest issue covers a broad range of curriculum-related content about women: from Vikings to Aboriginal rights, from equal pay to jujitsu suffragists.

Please note that full-colour, print copies of Agora are available by annual subscription.


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Reflection | Bianca Crawford
Editorial | Guy Nolch


Ju-Jitsu’s Role in the Fight for Women’s Suffrage | David Waldron and Zeb Leonard
Ju-jitsu became a weapon in the struggle for women’s empowerment, spreading ‘like wildfire’ across the British Empire to Australia’s suffragette campaign.

Women’s Experiences of Aboriginal Exemption | Judi Wickes and Katherine Ellinghaus
For Queensland’s Aboriginal women, an exemption certificate could be a ticket to freedom, but there was also a cost—they could no longer have contact with family or community members that were not exempt.

The Leadership of Women in the 1967 Referendum | Kate Laing and Lucy Davies
The 1967 Referendum was a watershed moment in the history of race relations in Australia, but what is often overlooked is how instrumental women were in the development and success of the campaign.

Australian Women Worked for Victory in World War II | Margaret Anderson
The involvement of women in the armed services and in wartime industries changed perceptions of women’s work in ways that helped set Australia on a course towards a more equal society in the late twentieth century.

‘This Was Really Life and Death’: Melbourne Women against the Vietnam War and Conscription | Alexandra Pierce
A sense of gross injustice, a conviction that something needed to be done and a realisation that something could be done by people like them are some of the motivations common to the women who were involved in Australia’s anti-Vietnam War and anti-conscription movements in the 1960s and 1970s.

Queen(s) of the Viking Age | Katrina Burge
The ornate burials of two women within the Oseberg ship reveals the prominent status that women could achieve in the Viking Age.

Théroigne de Méricourt: French Revolution Feminist | Peter McPhee
Anne-Josèphe Théroigne was a passionate campaigner for women’s rights during the French Revolution whose tragic death in an asylum was later dismissed as the consequence of revolutionary ‘excess’.

The Secret Lives of Soviet Women Writers | Judith Armstrong
Lydia Chukovskaya’s account of her friendship with Anna Akhmatova not only documents the important underground role played by literature in Russia during the Terror and Cold War, but also underlines the historical importance of personal records.

The Female Voice at the Heart of Ancient Greek Religion | Julia Kindt
One of the most powerful positions in the ancient world was open exclusively to women—the priestess Pythia at the Delphic Oracle.

Challenging Unequal Pay: Women Fruitpickers and Fruitpackers in 1912 Australia | Ruth Ford
Transcripts from an arbitration hearing reveal the stories of rural women fighting for equal pay just a few years after the Harvester Judgement.


Women’s History from the Ladies Lounge to the Daughters of Freedom
Agora interviews Clare Wright about her inspirations in women’s history, the research gaps that remain and her favourite things to read, listen to and watch.


Women, History and Wikipedia Editing | Clare Crowe, Helen Morgan and Mary Tomsic
Wikipedia is often the first source of information that teachers and students use, but some class exercises can reveal the gender bias stifling the voices of women in history.

Her Place in History | Kylie Oliver
Her Place Museum’s exhibitions and education resources are focused on the achievements of women, and includes structured lessons plans aligned to the History curriculum.

Women’s Liberation in Australia: From the Cities to the Suburbs | Lucy Honan
Two new documentaries, Brazen Hussies and Women of Steel, provide vivid accounts of the fight for women’s equality and liberation in Australia.

Teaching Australian Feminist History in Contemporary Contexts | Anne Gearside and Marissa Beard
The National Museum of Australia’s Defining Moments Digital Classroom interactive resources enable both primary and secondary learners to facilitate their own historical inquiry about Australia’s feminist history.

The Socialist Woman in the Early Years of the People’s Republic of China | Rebecca Cairns
Chinese Communist Party policies to transform social and family structures gave women greater work opportunities but did not relieve them of their duties at home.


‘The Age of Women Adept at Writing’: Female Voices from the Dutch East Indies in the Early Twentieth Century | Bronwyn Anne Beech Jones
On the west coast of Sumatra, girls and women fostered communities of writers and advocated for female education in Malay newspapers at a time when the rights and status of women were being stripped from their matrilineal society.

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