The RHSV is delighted that distinguished historian, Professor Marilyn Lake AO, will deliver the RHSV’s inaugural Women’s History Lecture, Vida Goldstein and Maud Wood Park: the political significance of Australian-American women’s friendships.
- Marilyn Lake, D.Litt, FAHA, FASSA, AO
- Former President of the Australian Historical Association
- Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne.
Author, most recently, of Progressive New World: How Settler Colonialism and TransPacific Exchange Shaped American Reform, Harvard University Press, 2019.
Vida Goldstein first met American suffragist Maud Wood Park in Boston, when on a lecturing tour following her attendance at the first International Woman Suffrage Conference, in Washington DC, in early 1902. Seven years later, Park travelled to Melbourne, where Goldstein, president of the Women’s Political Association and editor of the Woman Voter, introduced her to local women activists and future Prime Minister Andrew Fisher. Park came to Australia to investigate Australian women’s use of the vote post-suffrage. ‘The question is often asked,’ she wrote, “After woman suffrage what?” Sometimes the asker means what methods of organization will women employ; sometimes, what ends will they seek; sometimes, what results will they obtain’. After meeting party and non-party woman leaders, in Melbourne and Sydney, Park decided she had gained a ‘pretty definite idea of what women’s Causes”’ were. Convinced that an independent non-party stance was the best way forward for women in politics, Park returned to the United States, where, following ten more years of relentless lobbying, passage of the 19th Amendment was finally secured.
In 1920 Park became inaugural President of the non-party National League of Women Voters.