Question:

Who was Dame Enid Lyons ?

Vida Goldstein

Vida Goldstein (1869–1949)
Vida Goldstein was born in Portland, Victoria. She believed that men and women should have equal rights. She worked for the right of women to vote, called 'suffrage', and her parents encouraged her to be strong and free.
She started a magazine for women and spoke at a women's rights meeting in America. In 1902 women were given the right to vote in federal elections in Australia.

In 1903 Goldstein was the first woman in the British Empire to try to become a member of a national parliament. She stood for election to the Australian Commonwealth Parliament but did not win. She did not give up but worked towards women's suffrage in Victorian state elections. Women in Victoria got the vote in 1908.

During the First World War, Goldstein formed a group of people who worked for peace.

A special tree was planted in the grounds of the Victorian Parliament to honour her achievements and an electorate (voting area) in Melbourne is named after her.

Edith Cowan

Edith Cowan (1861–1932)
Edith Cowan was born in Geraldton, Western Australia. She was the first woman member of an Australian parliament. She was also a social worker and fought for women's rights.
From an early age Cowan wanted to help people to improve their lives. She was a leader of many groups that helped women and children.

In 1921 she was elected to the Western Australian Parliament. As a Member of the Legislative Assembly she worked for migrants' welfare, infant health centres and women's rights. She introduced laws that allowed women to become lawyers. Cowan lost her seat in parliament in 1924, but kept helping people.

A university in Western Australia is named after her and her picture has appeared on stamps

Dame Mary Gilmore

Dame Mary Gilmore (1865–1962)
Mary Gilmore was born near Goulburn, New South Wales. She became a teacher and a writer and was editor of the women's pages of the Australian Worker newspaper for 23 years.
In 1886, Gilmore went to Paraguay in South America to join a group of Australians who planned to set up a new colony where everyone would be equal and would work together. This colony was not successful.

After some years, Gilmore came back to Australia with her husband. She spent the rest of her life writing, doing her editing work and fighting for people who needed help. These included Aboriginal people, children who were forced to work in factories and shearers who were being underpaid. She also fought hard for women's rights.

In 1937 she was made Dame Mary Gilmore by King George VI. A suburb of Canberra is named after her and her picture is on the $10 note and on stamps

Eve Mahlab

Eve Mahlab (1937– )
Eve Mahlab was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1937. She trained as a lawyer and later, after working as a lawyer, became a very good businesswoman.
In the 1970s, she worked hard for women's rights and also set up a group to teach young people about working in a business. Since then, she has been a leader in government and community groups which have helped many other women have success in business as well.

Her work has been recognised in several ways. She was made Businesswoman of the Year in 1982. A book has been written and several television programs have been made about her. In 1998 she was awarded an Order of Australia for her work in government, business and the community. She was also made a Doctor of Law at Monash University in Melbourne.

Dame Enid Lyons

Dame Enid Lyons (1897–1981)
Enid Lyons was born in Tasmania and trained as a teacher in Hobart. Her mother introduced her to an important Tasmanian politician, Joseph Lyons, who later became the Premier of Tasmania. They were soon married.
Lyons was interested in her husband's work and stood for election to the Tasmanian Parliament in 1925. She nearly won. She was a good public speaker and helped to get people to vote for her husband. He became prime minister in 1931. After her husband's death, Lyons decided to stand for parliament again. In 1943 she became the first woman elected to the Commonwealth Parliament. She later became the first woman in federal Cabinet.

Lyons worked hard in Parliament for women and children. She believed that men and women should be completely equal. In those days women often stayed at home. If they did go out to work, they earned less. Lyons brought in welfare payments for mothers and equal training allowances for women and men.

She was made Dame Enid by the King in 1943 and Dame Enid of Australia in 1980. Her picture has also appeared on stamps.

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