Speaker: Dr Isobell Barrett Meyering

Topic: Feminists: anti-mother and anti-child?

When Australian women’s liberationists challenged prevailing expectations of female domesticity, they were accused of being anti-mother and anti-child. Dr Isobelle Barrett Meyering provides a much-need reassessment of this stereotype in her book, Feminism and the Making of a Child Rights Revolution, 1969-1979. Drawing on extensive archival research and personal accounts, she places feminists at the forefront of a new wave of children’s rights activism that went beyond calls for basic protections for children, instead demanding their liberation. In this talk, Isobelle will share highlights from her study, with a focus on campaigns initiated by Sydney activists, from the establishment of communal child care to the provision of support for children in feminist refuges.

Dr Isobelle Barrett Meyering is a historian of Australian feminism, childhood and the family. She is currently a Macquarie University Research Fellow, based in the Department of History and Archaeology. She completed her PhD at UNSW in 2017, where she also taught in gender studies and history, and previously worked at the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse. She has been awarded numerous prizes for her work, including the 2018 Australian Women’s and Gender Studies Association PhD Award and the 2019 David Scott Mitchell Memorial Fellowship at the State Library of NSW. Feminism and the Making of a Child Rights Revolution, 1969-1979, published by Melbourne University Press in 2022, is her first book.