Women's Groups 2013 - Women’s Liberation

Women’s Liberation

Purpose of the group

The Women’s Liberation group was part of a wider movement with a political and social agenda that gained momentum during the early 1970s. The movement was founded among trade unionism, student politics and anti-war campaigns. These wider social changes were significant in the formation of women’s liberation groups across Australia and in many other countries. About the same time, emerging feminist literature provided a radical feminist analysis of patriarchal structures such as the nuclear family.

The aims outlined at the first meeting of Women’s Liberation in Perth were the right to work, equal pay and equal job opportunities, low-cost child care for all, free contraceptives and abortion on demand.

Consciousness-raising was a strategy that women’s liberation groups used to empower women, enabling them to share their difficulties with traditional family structures where males were dominant. Women’s liberation meetings helped women to see the common links between their private experiences and their common oppression. The phrase ‘the personal is political’ became a way of understanding how women’s shared personal experiences were due to social and political structures, rather than the actions of individuals. Women gained a sense of solidarity and could develop strategies for subsequent action.

There was considerable overlap between women’s organisations in Perth during the 1970s and members of Women’s Liberation joined with the Harvest Guild to form the Women’s Electoral Lobby.

Time period

Women’s Liberation started meeting as a group in 1972 and continued into the late 1970s.

Key achievements

Women’s Liberation had many public campaigns on issues such as contraception and abortion. The group was seen as quite militant and often shocking. In 1972, the group was charged with obscenity relating to an edition of the University of WA’s student paper. A demonstration held at Parliament House included writing messages on babies’ nappies, draped over the public gallery. On another occasion, information about the availability of contraception was distributed outside Perth high schools.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Pat Giles and Joan Williams were prominent members.
  • Five Women’s Liberation candidates nominated for local government elections on 24 May 1972: Pat Giles and Penny Marsh in Bassendean, Joan Williams in Willagee, Eleanor Humphries in Coolbellup and Leila Soerink in Subiaco.


  • Murray, Suellen, 2002, More Than Refuge: Changing responses to domestic violence, Perth: UWA Press.
  • Speed, Sally. 1982. Perth women's liberation and WEL, 1972–73. Available from the State Library of WA (call number Q 305.42 SPE).

Article Index
Women's Groups 2013
Abortion Law Repeal Association/Association for the Legal Right to Abortion (ALRA)
American Women's Club of Perth (AWC)
Association of Civilian Widows of WA Inc
Australian College of Midwives WA Branch (ACM)
Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA)
Beta Sigma Phi
Business and Professional Women Western Australia (BPW)
Catholic Women’s League of Western Australia (Inc)
Chrysalis House Women's Refuge
Cine-Matrix: Women in Film and Television WA
Cockburn Women’s Peace Camp
Combined Equal Pay Committee/WA Council for Equal Pay and Opportunity
Community Midwifery WA
Country Women’s Association (CWA)
Domestic Violence Action Group (Geraldton)
Emily’s List
Equal Opportunity Law Reform Coalition
Fremantle Women’s Health Centre (FWHC)
Girl Guides WA
Graduate Women Western Australia (GWWA)/Australian Federation of University Women (AFUW) Western Australia
Grapevine/Perth Wimmin’s Collective
Gretel Club of Perth (Inc)
Harvest Guild
Incest Survivors Association (Inc.)
Inner Wheel Australia
Inside Out Project
Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Centre
Kalgoorlie Auxiliary of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Karrakatta Club
Labor Women’s Association
Lespar Library
Living Child Inc.—Safe Village Births
Lutheran Women WA
Marninwarntikura Fitzroy Women’s Resource Centre
Mining Mums
Modern Women's Club
Mothers’ Union Australia
Movement for the Ordination of Women
Muslim Women’s Support Centre of WA (Inc)
National Council of Women of Western Australia (previously known as West Australian National Council of Women and Western Australian National Council of Women)
National Council of Jewish Women of Australia—WA section (NCJWA)
Nintirri Centre
Older Women’s Network (OWN WA)
Penguin Club
Perth Ionian Club
Polyhymnia Reading Group
Rape Crisis Line
Rural Remote Regional Women’s Network (RRR)
Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC)
Sibyl/University of Western Australia Student Guild Women’s Collective
Society of Women Writers WA
Soroptimist International of Western Australia
Starick Services Inc
Status of Women Committee WA—Australian Labor Party
Tradeswomen on the Move
UN Women Australia (formerly UNIFEM Australia)—Perth Chapter Young UN Women Perth Chapter
Union of Australian Women—WA Branch
V.I.E.W. Western Australia
West Australian Women’s Society of Fine Arts and Crafts
War Widows’ Guild
Warrawee Women’s Refuge
Women’s Electoral Lobby (WEL)
West Australian Housewives’ Association (Inc)
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
Women in Media
Women’s Information Referral Exchange (WIRE)
Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) of Western Australia
Women in Education Coalition
Women in Mining WA (WIMWA)
Women in Sailing (WIS)
Women in Sport Committee of the Western Australian Sports Council
Women in Technology WA (Inc) (WiTWA)
Women Lawyers of Western Australia (Inc) (WLWA)
Women with Disabilities WA Inc (WWDWA)
Women’s Action Alliance (WAA)
Women’s Advisory Council (WAC)
Women’s Broadcasting Cooperative
Women’s Committee of State School Teachers’ Union WA Executive
Women's Committee of the Waterside Workers Federation
Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services (WA)/Women’s Refuge Group of WA (WRG)
Women’s Health and Family Services/Women’s Health Care House/Perth Women’s Centre/Women’s Health Service
Women’s Information Service (WIS)
Women’s Interest Network
Women in Engineering WA (WIE WA)
Women’s International Zionist Organisation (WIZO)
Women’s Liberation
Women’s Service Guilds
Women’s Studies Group
Yanay Yanma
YWCA of Perth
Zonta International
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