Edith Dircksey Cowan

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Edith Dircksey Cowan (1861-1932), social worker, politician and the first woman to be elected to an Australia parliament was born on 2 August 1861 in Glengarry, Western Australia. Her powerful leadership in overcoming the barriers of woman’s public participation in the 19th century was induced by her own personal tragedy.
Cowan was the second child of original settlers Kenneth Brown, pastoralist and his first wife Mary Eliza Dircksey Wittenoom, a teacher; A well connected, pious and conservative family. She was able to live a joyful and uninhibited early childhood. However, things dramatically changed as Edith’s mother died from childbirth in 1868 along with the child, when Cowan was the age of seven. The remaining children we’re then separated
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In 1894, Cowan became involved in her first voluntary organization, being a founding members and President of the Karrakatta Club, a movement that Perth’s woman could master public speaking and shared their reading on health, literature and disadvantage women 's rights. For the next four decades she continued to dedicated herself into her work as she verbalized openly about venereal disease, prostitution, contraception, illegitimacy and sex malefactions at a time when such subjects were not discussed in polite company. She served several terms on the North Fremantle Board of Education, one of the few public offices then open to women. By the late 1890’s Cowan was elected to the Board of Public entitles to be a part of the education Board and Women’s Service Guild. She was a foundation member of the Children 's Protection Society in 1906, She was among the first women appointed to its bench in 1915; also an early woman justice of the peace (1920), she constantly urged the appointment of women to such positions. Among her many achievements, Edith Cowan was also obtaining votes for women in Western Australia. The Guidance of infants acts (1922) abled woman to attended courts if their husbands left them without ample conservation also arguing Edith’s point that woman should be entitled to share their husbands income. During World war 1, already heavily engaged in social welfare, she took on the wide range of war work worked tirelessly for the Red Cross, contributed on the formation of the WA league of Nations Union and started up the Soldiers ' Welcome Home campaign, being awarded an OBE for her work for
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