Women's History Month

March is Women's History Month!

This Women's History Month calendar lists public events that relate to women's history and is scheduled to occur during the month of March. The events are hosted by a range of organisations - government, academic, professional and community-based - in the history sector.

If you are organising an event during March 2021, and if it relates to Women's History, you are welcome to publicise it here. Please consider carefully whether face-to-face events are viable in your community. Then click on the 'Host your own event' button at the foot of this page to get started. Please note that there may be a delay of up to 48 hours (for moderation) before your event becomes visible on the website.

The concept of Women's History Month was revived by the Royal Historical Society of Victoria during 2019 with support from several interested organisations. This calendar is hosted by the History Council of Victoria.

To inspire your planning for 2021, take a look at what was offered in March 2020.


  • Thursday, March 04, 2021 at 05:00 PM

    Teasing women’s stories from the archives

    In this seminar, Dr Carolyn Rasmussen, Dr Kathleen Neal and Dr Alana Piper join us to share their experience of researching women’s lives, as biographical dictionaries strive to increase their representation of women. From a medieval countess to Victoria’s female criminals, the stories uncovered range widely in both time and place, pointing to the richness the archives can yield 'with a little more effort and research'.

    BOOK HERE: https://www.historycouncilvic.org.au/teasing_womens_stories_from_the_archives_20210209 

    The seminar is part of an ongoing series, Making Public Histories, that is offered jointly by the Monash University History Program, the History Council of Victoria and the Old Treasury Building.


  • Friday, March 05, 2021 at 02:00 PM
    Online in Melbourne, Australia

    Women’s history beyond stereotypes

    Public Record Office Victoria and Her Place Women's Museum Australia present the online panel talk "Women’s history beyond stereotypes" as part of International Women's Day 2021. #ChoosetoChallenge

    Tickets are free but registration is essential - register here.

    This year the focus is on nursing and midwifery, an acknowledgement of the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife in 2020, delayed by COVID-19. Penelope Lee, Her Place Board Director and co-curator of 'Unmasked: celebrating Nursing and Midwifery, Victoria and beyond' will be joined by curator Dr Madonna Grehan from The University of Melbourne, a nurse, midwife, and historian, and contributor Professor Odette Best from the University of Southern Queensland, a nurse and historian. They will discuss the surprising breadth and depth of this complex field of women’s history and work, reflected in the exhibition 'Unmasked' and how new interpretations can challenge stereotypical narratives of history.

    'Unmasked: celebrating Nursing and Midwifery, Victoria and beyond' runs from 3 March - 1 April 2021 at Her Place Museum and features digital records from the collection of Public Record Office Victoria.


    Odette Best is a woman of the Wakun clan of the Gorreng Gorreng, Boonthamurra, and Yugameh Nation. She is Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Southern Queensland. After training as a general nurse at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Odette undertook clinical practice, then policy work and later moved into academia. One of Odette’s main research areas is Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who completed recognised training in nursing and/or midwifery before 1950.

    Dr Madonna Grehan is an independent historian. She worked as a general nurse and midwife before moving into women’s health research. She completed a PhD in nursing and midwifery history at the University of Melbourne. Madonna is an interviewer for the National Library of Australia’s Oral History and Folklore Collection and immediate Past President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine.

    Penelope Lee is a museum professional, cultural producer, arts manager and artist who has worked across Melbourne’s cultural sector for over 25 years with a focus on community-engaged, interdisciplinary and inclusive arts, education and cultural programming. She is currently a Board Director and previously the General Manager at Her Place Women’s Museum Australia. Penelope has co-curated this exhibition with Madonna and Odette and, like them, is a qualified general and mental health nurse.

  • Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 05:30 PM
    Williamstown Library in Williamstown, Australia

    BRAZEN HUSSIES: Film Screening and Q&A

    BRAZEN HUSSIES reveals a revolutionary chapter in Australian history, the Women's Liberation Movement (1965 -1975).

    Interweaving freshly uncovered archival footage, personal photographs, memorabilia and lively personal accounts from activists, BRAZEN HUSSIES shows us how a daring and diverse group of women joined forces to defy the status quo, demand equality and create profound social change - contributing to one of the greatest social movements of the 20th Century.

    Join us in celebrating International Women's Day and Women’s History Month with a screening of this acclaimed film followed by a Q&A with some of these inspiring women.

    Places are limited to allow for social distancing. Bookings are required.

  • Friday, March 12, 2021 at 05:00 PM

    Launch of the RHSV Women’s Biographical Dictionary

    There is a perception that from its beginnings in 1909, the Royal Historical Society has been the domain of men. Yet from the outset women have played an active role in the Society in many capacities - as members, councillors, fellows, employees, volunteers, patrons, benefactors.

    The RHSV Women’s Biographical Dictionary has been established to honour the contributions made by women to the Society, particularly those whose public lives have not been recorded in the Australian Dictionary of Biography or Women Australia or The Australian Women’s Register.

    The project co-ordinator, Cheryl Griffin, in consultation with the overseeing committee, is responsible for selecting and prioritising entries for inclusion, but welcomes comments, corrections, queries and suggestions for future inclusions.

    This is a work in progress. There are already hundreds of names listed and we will continue to add to the entries as new information becomes available. We welcome contributions such as biographical material and images (as long as the material has copyright clearance). We also welcome suggestions for source material we might consult, such as books, newspapers, journals, magazines, manuscripts.

    Committee member Katrin Strohl (and President of Coburg Historical Society) is the graphic designer for the project. One example is an entry for Annie Hope Campbell, the third woman to join the Historical Society in 1909 and an artist and keen collector of reminiscences from early pioneers.

    The dictionary is on the RHSV website though, prior to the launch, it is deliberately hard to find. At the launch we’ll make it visible to the public and our members.


  • Saturday, March 13, 2021 at 10:00 AM
    Mannix Library, Catholic Theological College in East Melbourne, Australia

    Australian Women in Religion: Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

    Join us to create new entries about Australian women in religion and update already-published articles on Wikipedia, where over 80% of biographical entries are about men. The University of Divinity is coordinating this Australian contribution to the international 1000 Women in Religion Project. While not currently represented on Wikipedia, many Australian women in religion have made notable contributions in fields such as education, health, social welfare, activism, and scholarship.

    To read more about the project and to register to attend please see further information at https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/edit-a-thon-australian-women-in-religion-registration-141634325079

  • Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 05:30 PM · $10.00 AUD

    Vera Deakin in War and Peace

    The RHSV’s major lecture during Women’s History Month (March). The lecture will start at 6pm and we will be serving drinks prior to that from 5:30pm.

    The daughter of Prime Minister Alfred Deakin, Vera Deakin studied music in the Habsburg Empire on the eve of the Great War. Driven by British imperial fervour on her return to Australia, she bypassed the government’s restrictions on women’s participation in the war effort by serving with the fledgling Australian Red Cross. Aged only 23 in 1915, she became the founding secretary of the Australian Red Cross Wounded & Missing Enquiry Bureau in Cairo and later London. Narrowly avoiding replacement by a man, she showed outstanding leadership and was appointed OBE. In peace she married an adventurous military pilot, Captain Thomas White, later a cabinet minister. When he was knighted, she became Lady White. Vera led several humanitarian causes but her lodestar remained the Red Cross.

    Carole Woods OAM is a Fellow and honorary secretary of the RHSV. A former librarian, bibliographer and freelance historian, she has been a longtime advocate for community history. She chaired the judges’ panel of the Victorian Community History Awards for seven years and curated two exhibitions at the RHSV.  Her books include Beechworth. A Titan’s Field and the recently published Vera Deakin and the Red Cross.

    Chaired by Dr Judith Smart AM.

    Because of COVID restrictions it is absolutely necessary to book in advance. 
  • Sunday, March 28, 2021 at 03:00 PM
    Old Heidelberg Court House in Heidelberg, Australia

    One name at a time: the past, present and future of Heidelberg's Busy Bee Signature Quilt

    Central square of the Busy Bee quilt

    In 2018, the Heidelberg Historical Society received by donation a Signature Quilt that was created in 1895-96 by the Busy Bees, a group of eight women who were members of the congregation of Heidelberg’s Scots Church. Their names are embroidered in the corners of the quilt's large central square (above).

    The quilt project raised funds for the church. Constructed from 213 squares of cotton fabric, the quilt is decorated with hand-made lace and embroidery, and framed by a substantial embroidered frill.

    The quilt's past involved contributions by about 150 people from many parts of Melbourne and a lengthy sojourn in New Zealand.

    Its present includes listing with the National Quilt Register and commendation at the Victorian Community History Awards.

    Its future requires ongoing research into the 139 names that are legible on the squares, plus careful preservation by the Society.

    This talk by Margaret Birtley (starting at 3 pm) will share insights gained from studying the quilt and its people, one name at a time.

    An exhibition about the quilt is open for viewing from 2 pm to 5 pm. Throughout the afternoon, the Banksia Lace Group will demonstrate how the quilt's lace insertions were crafted.

    Click HERE to explore the quilt online.

    Admission charges apply:

    Adults $5
    Children under 16 (and members of Heidelberg Historical Society) free

    Numbers are limited in accordance with the Society's COVID-Safe Plan. Please bring your mask.

    There is no on-site parking.