Picture
Young women today have no idea of the sexism we had to face - wives could be legally beaten by their husbands, death duties imposed on widows would leave them homeless and penniless. Being sexually harrassed by strangers was a common event. Women were not allowed into some clubs and could not be served alcohol in public bars. A lot of this has changed, due to the valiant efforts of previous generations of women fighting for the right to be treated equally.

Hilarie Lindsay MBE OAM PhD (Syd.)

Hilarie became aware of sexist attitudes from an early age - her mother refused to agree to “obey” her husband in her wedding vows in 1917. Hilarie, herself, started the campaign to abolish death duties on a dead husband’s estate which nearly always left the widow homeless and penniless. She wrote prolifically to newspapers on the rights of women and the need to have more women in parliament - knowing that it was possible to change the status quo through writing to alert the general public of these injustices to women. She started writing seriously in the 1960s under a penname to protect her privacy but then later, as she started winning awards, she began using her real name and became a mentor for many women writers, as well as President of the Society of Women Writers. She was awarded the MBE, the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and the OAM for Services to Literature. On top of her recent PhD, she still works as a Director of her toy manufacturing company, a company she joined over 65 years ago. She was the first female president of any division of the Chamber of Manufacturers - breaking the glass ceiling. This was at the time when women members were not admitted to the Annual Dinner, so she had to fight for the right to attend as she was President of the Toy & Games Manufacturers Association of Australia (TAGMA).  Currently, she is working on a novel and has two more books in the pipeline. Among the many organisations she’s been invovled, Hilarie is a long standing member of Zonta International, an organistion which works to raise the status of women and girls worldwide. 

http://zonta.org.au/Zonta_in_Australia/Home_to_3_Districts_of_Zonta_International.html

Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Sydney