Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Women 2002 – A Centenary Of Women’s Suffrage

Today’s release of Women 2002is a special Centenary of Women’s Suffrage issue. Not only does this annual publication provide the latest information about Australian women, it offers fascinating glimpses of the lives of women a century ago.

Women 2002 clearly shows that 100 years after women gained the right to both vote and stand in Federal elections, women in Australia have access to an ever-expanding range of opportunities and choices.

Highlights of the interesting facts and figures in Women 2002 include:

  • Between 1902 and 2001, the percentage of women in the population grew from 47.6 per cent to 50.2 per cent.
  • In 1906, women were 13 per cent of the students at Sydney University and 15 per cent of students at Melbourne University. By 2001, women made up 57 per cent of all undergraduate commencements.
  • Between 1911 and 2002, the labour force participation rose from 25 per cent to 55 per cent.
  • Between 1901 and 2000, female life expectancy rose from 58.8 years to 82 years.

Women 2002 also provides information on a range of other issues that affect Australian women today including health and ageing, violence prevention, women in regional, rural and remote areas, justice, Indigenous affairs and the recognition of women’s achievements.

Women 2002 outlines the progress being made for Australian women in these areas and confirms that the programmes funded through many of the Government’s initiatives are already providing results.

The Commonwealth Government’s commitment to Australian women has never been stronger. In the 2001-02 Budget, an additional $30 million was allocated to the Office of the Status of Women to promote women’s economic self-sufficiency and security; optimal status and position for women; the elimination of violence in the lives of women; and maintenance of optimal health and well-being throughout women’s lives.