Reflecting on 125 Years of Women’s Suffrage

On the 28th of November, YWCA members and supporters came together at the historic Ayers House in Adelaide to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in South Australia. 

The night was opened with a powerful poem from Manal Younus, which evoked the long history of women’s strength when facing oppression and our courageous spirit to keep fighting for our rights, whilst loving ourselves along the way.

The event hosted a panel of young women who lead the evening in thought-provoking discussion that reflected on our wins as women, and what work still needs to be done to achieve women’s political and social empowerment. 

On the panel for the evening was four powerful and inspiring young women.

The vibrant Sally Scales:

Sally is a Pitjantjatjara women from Pipalyatjara in the far west of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Land. Sally is the youngest person ever elected as a Chairperson of the APY Executive Board and is part of the youth leadership team for the Uluru Statement reform. On top of all of these commitments, Sally is foster mum to four-year-old Walter.

“Women are powerful and we need to own it. The time for male, pale and stale is over.”

The powerful Manal Younus: 

Manal is an Australian based freelance storyteller and poet from Eritrea. She believes that language and stories are the very fabric of our existence.

“As a black, Muslim woman, unless we look at the intersectional forms of oppression, we won’t achieve what we need to.”

The insightful Kelly Vincent:

Kelly was a Member of South Australia’s Legislative Council for the Dignity Party and made lasting changes for disadvantaged South Australians.

“It’s so easy to fall into tokenistic representation. I believe that the people who need to lead are the ones who’ve experienced those barriers.”

The inspiring Luci Blackborough:

At 18, Luci was elected to Cambelltown City Council as South Australia’s youngest councillor during the 2018 elections.

“Draw the line, walk away, call it out – you don’t have to tolerate it when other people treat you badly.”

One thing became clear throughout the evening – though our young panellists all have diverse lived experiences, they were all passionate about the power of women and our need as women to own our strengths and believe in our abilities.

Throughout the night, Australian artist Emma Rowland created a live art piece, taking quotes and key events from the panelists discussion. She turned all their powerful quotes into a spectacular piece of art!

Hard Won, But Not Done truly was a celebration of women’s collaboration and an event that created space for the next generation of women’s activism and voices. We are so thankful to have been able to reflect on the women who changed our future and fought for our voting rights.

Here’s to another 125 years of progress on women’s rights!

Want to join us to keep progressing rights for women? Sign up as a member today.

YWCA Australia wishes to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we work, live and play and pay our respects to Elders past and present. We recognise First Nations people as the custodians of the lands, seas and skies, with more than 60,000 years of wisdom, connection and relationship in caring for Country.

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