Women’s Work: An Organisational Study of the Union of Australian Women, 1950-1970

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Keirs, Katherine (2021) Women’s Work: An Organisational Study of the Union of Australian Women, 1950-1970. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


The UAW was a women’s advocacy organisation founded by the Communist Party of Australia in 1950. This thesis explores the UAW’s contribution to the lives of women through an examination of its activities between 1950-1970. The UAW’s commitment to socialism and the working class is considered within the socio-political context of the Menzies era. It argues that the UAW harboured dual motivations in undertaking campaigns around the cost of living, women’s status, peace, industrial relations, and community enhancements. While the UAW aimed to improve the lives of women and children in working class communities and promote a more equitable society, it did so with the explicit intention of politicising its rank-and-file membership and those women with whom its members associated. Although the Women’s Liberation Movement superseded the UAW in the 1970s, the thesis demonstrates that the UAW contributed to the momentum of women’s rights in the 1960s.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/43460
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 4303 Historical studies
Current > Division/Research > College of Arts and Education
Keywords Union of Australian Women; UAW; women; working class; women’s rights; 1950s; 1960s; politics; Menzies era; women; Australia; racial equality
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