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Rewriting Herstory

You Can’t Be What You Can’t See. Right?

I love the power of social media, especially when it is used to showcase, celebrate and advance women. Recently, I had the very good fortune to ‘e-meet’ Dr Nikki Henningham through social media. This very fortunate meeting occurred because I am an avid follower and fan of the fabulous Chicks Talkin’ Footy radio show, and I learned about the work Nikki is doing to honour women in history on their show. Nikki is a Research Fellow at University of Melbourne who, along with her research partner Helen Morgan, has embarked upon an ambitious and very worthwhile campaign to correctly rewrite history and rightly enshrine women in our history books. Keep reading to understand why this project is important and what your call to action is!

Chicks Talkin Footy
Fi, Bec and Breeza (The Chicks) with previous chair of AFL Central Australia and pioneer Bev Ellis and Melbourne Uni Historian Dr. Nikki Henningham.

The following is adapted from the Women Aus campaign. 

Women in Public Life Do Not Get the Acknowledgement They Deserve!

Recent events in Australian politics have shown us that women in public life do not get the acknowledgement they deserve! What does this mean for women throughout history, just getting on with work in the community, quietly achieving as they make the world go round? It means that women often do not step into the limelight, enter awards processes and as a result, women who have made huge impacts on their communities are largely overlooked, even within recent history, leaving us with only half the story.

Studies show, however, that in societies where women’s achievements are publicly and overtly acknowledged, domestic violence rates fall. The equation is simple; acknowledging history encourages respect for women. Knowing our history isn’t an abstract nice to have; it’s an important social concern.

You Can’t Be What You Can’t See

The online web resource The Australian Women’s Register aims to support the documentation and telling of historical stories about Australian women, ordinary and extraordinary, to advance gender equity and change. The objective is to use history to inspire new generations of women to become active in their communities. As Mariam Wright Edelman said, ‘You can’t be what you can’t see’, which is why history matters. Stories of trailblazing women of the past can work to inspire women of today to change the future.

What Can I Do?

Nikki and Helen want to inspire new generations of women to become active Victorian citizens; however, without your help, the stories of women who have come before them will go untold and the influence these stories could have on changing the future will not be possible. Nikki and Helen need your help to document the other half of Australia’s story! Your donations will help fund the Register to create 50 new fully researched histories about women and present them in a fresh, new, permanent online exhibition.

  1. Make your tax-deductible donation today here.
  2. Encourage your organisation to become a patron/sponsor of this program.
  3. Share this article and the importance of honouring women in history.

“Every time a girl opens a book and reads a womanless history, she learns that she is worth less than a boy”

-Myra Pollack Sadker

Help Nikki and Helen consign womanless accounts to the dustbin of history! I have!

This article was originally published by Advancing Women, and authored by Michelle Redfern

About the Founder

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Posted by Jade Collins - Femeconomy Director

Jade Collins has 20 years’ global experience in corporate executive Human Resources and management consulting roles in the Mining, Energy and Aerospace industries, leading large scale, complex multi-million-dollar change management programs. Jade finds the combination of her HR, Psychology and MBA qualifications and her leadership experience is invaluable for increasing gender equality in leadership across industries. Jade was a member of the Queensland Government's Strategic Advisory Group for the Toward Gender Parity: Women on Boards Initiative and the 2019 CQU Alumni of the Year for Social Impact for her work with Femeconomy.