- Voluntary organisation
- Level 1, 15 Collins St, Melbourne Vic. 3000
Officially founded in 1902, with Janet Lady Clarke as president, and continuing today, the National Council of Women of Victoria is an umbrella organisation for a large and diverse number of affiliated Victorian women's groups. It functions as a political lobby group, attempting to influence local, state and federal government. Like all National Councils of Women, it operates though a standing committee system whereby specific issues are brought before the Council and, if there is general agreement that a question should be taken up, a subcommittee is established to investigate the matter.
Until the 1940s at least, the Council was a major focal point for women's activism.
Its initial aims were:
1. To establish a bond of union between the various affiliated societies.
2. To advance the interests of women and children and of humanity in general.
3. To confer on questions relating to the welfare of the family, the State and the Commonwealth.'
While encompassing a diverse range of organisations, the Council emerged as a largely middle-class women's organisation especially in terms of its office bearers.
Although not always an overtly feminist organisation, the NCWV drew on the conviction that women had a special contribution to make to public life and the formulation of social policy. They were thus concerned with a wide array of social reform issues** as well as those more directly related to the legal and social status of women. It also drew on notions of gender unity and international sisterhood.
[Kate Gray, 'The Acceptable Face of Feminism: the National Council of Women, 1902-1918', MA thesis, University of Melbourne, 1988.]