THEME: Pine Creek Region
SUBJECT AREA: History
TOPIC: Votes for Women
Radical Change Early in the Territory
This morning, while biking along the old Stuart Highway, we came to Grove Hill, a dilapidated old house with a small tavern and a bunch of old cars in the side yard. On a plaque out in the front there was a timeline of the history of the area from 40,000 years ago when Aborigines first inhabited the area, to the 1970’s when mining had a rebirth. In 1896, it said that Northern Territory women got the right to vote. At first my eyes went right by the fact, but talking with April, I realised that it wasn’t until the 1920’s that women gained the right to vote in the USA!
The early date of such a huge step towards equality surprised me because one would think that out here in the ‘Territory’, women would be downcast and second to the men. Maybe it was because of the roughness of the landscape that enabled these Outback women to become more independent and speak out for their rights. Most likely these women would do anything and everything that needed to be done, alongside their male counterparts. The sparse Outback society must’ve been much more different than the male-oriented city-world at the time. When a job needed to be done, it was - , whether it was a woman or a man that did the job, it didn’t matter. This may be the reason for the early date of suffrage in the Northern Territory.
1. Find out when women gained the right to vote in your country or state and compare it with the Northern Territory’s date. Make a hypothesis as to why it happened at the time it did.
2. Do you think that our society today would be different if women hadn’t been given the right to vote? Why, or why not?