You Daughters of Freedom

Associate Professor Clare Wright

Clare Wright

In her new book, You Daughters of Freedom, historian Associate Professor Clare Wright brings to life a time when Australian democracy was the standard bearer for progress and the envy of the world.

For the ten years from 1902, when Australia’s feminist activists won the vote for white women, the world looked to this trailblazing young democracy for inspiration.

In conversation with Genevieve Jacobs, Wright tells the story of that victory—and of Australia’s role in the subsequent international struggle—through the eyes of five remarkable players: the redoubtable Vida Goldstein, the flamboyant Nellie Martel, indomitable Dora Montefiore, daring Muriel Matters, and artist Dora Meeson Coates, who painted the controversial Australian banner carried in the British suffragettes’ marches of 1908 and 1911.

La Trobe University historian Associate Professor Clare Wright has worked as an author, academic, political speechwriter, historical consultant, and radio and TV broadcaster.

You Daughters of Freedom “tells the entwined histories of five women – Montefiore, Nellie Martel, Muriel Matters, Vida Goldstein and Dora Meeson Coates – whose feminist consciousness was forged in the remarkably successful suffrage campaigns of late-19th-century Australia. After tracing their role in those campaigns, the book follows them to England, where all five threw their energy, experience and inspirational example behind the intensifying suffrage battles of the first decade of the new century. Their stories are worth the telling, and Clare Wright gives them full measure. The task has its challenges, because the trajectories of the five were as varied as their politics.” (Penny Russell, SMH, October 2018)

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