Learning More About Women's History
Not sure if you know how to research women's history? Begin by asking yourself some basic questions. What are you researching, a person, an organisation, an idea? How do you want to use the material, do you want to write it up or present it to a meeting etc? Is it oral histories you are interested in? Make sure you are clear about your goals.
When you are ready the Internet is a good place to start. Here are just a few suggestions of useful sites:
- Australian History on the Internet
- The Jessie Street Women's library
- The National Archives site for biographies of well-known Australian women and Commonwealth Government records since Federation, including information about women politicians, through their Recordsearch database
- The National Pioneer Women's Hall of Fame
- National Centre for History Education
- History Toolkit
There is your local library -talk to the librarian about how to find out about local women.
Local schools - have they been around for a while? Do they have any former pupils that became well known for what they did?
The local aged care hostel - sometimes its amazing the women who are here who have so much to tell about past lives. Often the staff can tell you about those who would be happy to talk about their past.
Interesting your local media in finding out stories of local women can sometimes generate surprising results. If you are planning an event talk to the local media about it - ask people to ring in to radio stations or write to newspapers about their stories - or use the media as a way of generating interest about the history of women in your local area. Have fun - people love telling stories!
Your family or your friend's families
Sometimes the most interesting stories come from family histories. Ask your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles for stories about women in your family history. Persuade your friends to do the same. Take time to sit down with your older relatives and a tape recorder and ask questions about their lives. It can be a fascinating starting point for your journey into women's history, and reclaiming women's stories from oblivion.
NOTE The WHM Committee plans to develop a more comprehensive guide to research. In the meantime contact us if you would like some further advice on undertaking research.