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Australian Political Science Association Women's Caucus (2007 - )

From
2007
Occupations
Professional association and Women’s advocacy
Alternative Names
  • Australasian Political Science Association Women's Caucus (previous name, 1979 - 2007)

Summary

The Women's Caucus of the then Australasian Political Studies Association (APSA) was established in 1979. It was set up to improve the standing of women in the political science profession and to promote the study of women and politics. The annual general meeting of the Women's Caucus is held during the annual conference of APSA. A representative serves on the APSA Executive. The caucus conducts regular reviews of the status of women in the profession and of the extent of the successful implementation of APSA's policy that the study of women should be integrated into all politics courses.

Details

The Australasian Political Studies Association's (APSA) Women's Caucus was established on the initiative of Marian Sawer and Carole Pateman at APSA's 1979 conference in Hobart. Its purpose is to improve the status of women in the profession of political science and to make women visible in the political system particularly as it is studied through the discipline of Political Science. An immediate success was the inclusion of Carole Pateman on the Executive of APSA as Vice-President.

Marian Sawer lists a number of activities of the Women's Caucus including:


  • increasing the representation of women on the APSA Executive including as President,
  • inspiring a more gender-inclusive journal,
  • making the Annual Conferences more woman-friendly,
  • instigating regular audits of the status of women in the profession,
  • monitoring the gender inclusiveness of curriculum and textbooks,
  • recording the completion of thesis research with a gender focus.

The Women's Caucus has also initiated and sustained prizes for research and study in the field of political science.


  • In 2018 the winner of the first Thelma Hunter PhD Prize for the best thesis on women and/or gender and politics will be announced. This will replace the Women and Politics Prize which was awarded from 1982 to 2016.
  • The Carole Pateman Prize is given for the best book on the topic of gender and politics.
  • The Academic Leadership in Political Science Award was established by the Executive Committee of APSA in response to recommendations made by the Women's Advancement in Australian Political Science report (2012). It recognises inclusive and collaborative leadership, of particular importance to women and members of non-dominant groups, but also of benefit to all emerging scholars.

The Women's Caucus published an electronic newsletter WAPSA News from 1994 to 1995 and then created the moderated email discussion list Ausfem-Polnet in 1996. By 2003 this list had some 900 subscribers including many women working within government.

Madeline Grey's 2014 assessment of women's leadership in the field of Political Science makes three points.


  • The APSA Women's Caucus has allowed women political scientists to work collectively to exert influence and implement initiatives,
  • Their contributions to a feminist body of scholarship through the Australian Journal of Political Science and other national and international publications has laid the groundwork for transforming the discipline,
  • • The creation of the Women's Caucus, a specific structure with a clear mandate to focus on gender issues, has played an important role in supporting women to challenge the status quo and promote change.

In these ways, the APSA Women's Caucus has been a significant influence on both the profession and the discipline of Political Science.

Sources used to compile this entry: Australian Political Science Association Website, 2017, http://www.auspsa.org.au/about/womens-caucus; Grey, Madeline, 'Political Science', in The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia, Judith Smart and Shurlee (eds) Swain, Australian Women's Archives Project, 2014, http://www.womenaustralia.info/leaders/biogs/WLE0178b.htm; Records of the Australasian Political Studies Association, 1956-1996, 1956 - 1996, MS Acc01/295; National Library of Australia, Manuscript Section; Sawer, Marian, 'The Impact of Feminist Scholarship on Australian Political Science', Australian Journal of Political Science, vol. 39, no. 3 (November), 2004, pp. 553-566.

Related entries

Archival resources

National Library of Australia, Manuscript Section

  • Records of the Australasian Political Studies Association, 1956-1996, 1956 - 1996, MS Acc01/295; National Library of Australia, Manuscript Section. Details

Jill Caldwell

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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