7 episodes

One hundred years after Australia elected its very first female parliamentarian, journalist Annabel Crabb and comedian Steph Tisdell chart the rise of female politicians in Australian politics and the unbelievable things they got up to along the way.

Ms Represented ABC Radio

    • News

One hundred years after Australia elected its very first female parliamentarian, journalist Annabel Crabb and comedian Steph Tisdell chart the rise of female politicians in Australian politics and the unbelievable things they got up to along the way.

    06| Booze, morals and the Social Purity Society

    06| Booze, morals and the Social Purity Society

    In the early days of the women's suffrage movement, some argued that the presence of females in parliament would bring a better moral tone to politics. The Women's Suffrage League in South Australia was first called the Social Purity Society and lobbied to protect women from the scourges of booze, gambling and violence.

    But some men were concerned that admitting women to the parliamentary process would be like having their wives come to work and nag them to give up drinking. Steph and Annabel take a look at how alcohol has shaped parliamentary culture and often excluded women.

    • 30 min
    05| Are you even a real woman?

    05| Are you even a real woman?

    Enid Lyons, the first woman in the House of Representatives had 11 children. But ever since she entered politics, women have been bombarded with questions about their kids. Sometimes it's about who is minding their children, or why they don't have children at all. Annabel and Steph chat about why we are so focused on the child-bearing capacity of our female parliamentarians.

    • 30 min
    04| The thing they all say

    04| The thing they all say

    Annabel has spent the last year interviewing female politicians of all ages and political persuasions. They have plenty of different views, but on one issue, they were nearly all in agreement. When a woman suggests a good idea, it is often ignored until a man says exactly the same thing. So, female politicians have had to concoct some inventive ways to get their views heard.

    • 31 min
    03| Clothes maketh the woman

    03| Clothes maketh the woman

    There's a clear uniform for men in politics: a suit for weekdays, no tie on weekends and an Akubra if you are making a rural announcement. But fashion isn't so straightforward for women. Annabel and Steph ponder why we are so obsessed with how our female politicians look and how much time is wasted on hair and makeup. It is estimated that during her time as PM, Julia Gillard spent about 1100 hours having her hair and makeup done.

    • 28 min
    02| A safe workplace for all?

    02| A safe workplace for all?

    Former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins triggered a #MeToo moment in Canberra this year when she alleged she had been raped by a colleague in Parliament House in 2019. Her story inspired others to come forward and share their own stories of harassment, including one prominent former politician who alleges that she was assaulted by a colleague in Old Parliament House decades ago. In this episode, Annabel and Steph ask just how safe women feel in Australia's halls of power.

    • 36 min
    01| Not designed for women

    01| Not designed for women

    Australia was the first country in the world where women were allowed to vote and run for parliament. But no one thought women would really run for office. When Parliament House was built, there weren't even women's toilets. Annabel and Steph take a look at how Parliament House was designed with only blokes in mind.

    • 36 min

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