One of the best documentary series of recent times — the ABC’s Ms. Represented — has broken ground by portraying the difficulties faced by women in Australian politics.
Its broadcast, both as a television series and as a podcast, coincides with the 100th anniversary of the election of the first woman to an Australian Parliament, Edith Cowan.
ABC Friends is very proud that our National President, Margaret Reynolds, features prominently in the series.
Now residing in Tasmania, Margaret was the first woman to be elected as a senator for Queensland, and served in Parliament from 1983 to 1999.
Margaret was the Federal Minister for Local Government from 1987 to 1990, and the Minister assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women from 1988 to 1990, advising then Prime Minister Bob Hawke on how draft legislation could impact women.
(Margaret Reynolds with former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan)
True to form, Margaret doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to her assessment of the attitudes of her male colleagues.
Among many other statements, she said:
It’s as if men in power — they still find it hard to accept that good ideas can come from women.
(Margaret was Australia’s 1997 representative to the UN General Assembly)
Annabel Crabb, who devised the series, says women from all parties, and through history, have experienced the same sorts of problems, including what has been branded “gender deafness,” where a sole woman in a cabinet meeting will have her ideas stolen by men around the table.
If you missed it, Margaret Reynolds’ outstanding contribution to Ms. Represented is available on the ABC’s iView streaming service.
Margaret is the author of two books: The Last Bastion: Labor women working towards equality in the parliaments of Australia, which is a compilation of biographical details about ALP women published in 1995, and Living Politics, published by the University of Queensland Press in 2007