A History of International Women's Day
in words and images

Joyce Stevens has been an activist over many years in the left, union and feminist movements, starting with her membership in the Eureka Youth League in 1942 and in the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) in 1945

In the early 70s, feminism was a powerful new political force and Joyce was intent on reconciling this with her experience of class politics. She helped to produce the first Women's Liberation newspaper in Australia, Mejane and Australia's first socialist-feminist magazine, Scarlet Woman.

She helped set up the Control Abortion Referral Service which established the first two women's health centres in Sydney - at Leichhardt and Liverpool. She worked for the Women's Employment Action Centre (WEAC) on its register of women in non-traditional jobs and in their attempts to establish a comparable worth case between pay rates in traditional female and male occupations.

Joyce became part of that section of the CPA which was working for a renewal of its "socialist vision" drawing on feminist, environmental, Aboriginal and multicultural aspirations. In 1991 she supported the dissolution of the CPA believing that new forces and forms of organisation were needed for the renewal of left politics.

In 1996 Joyce received an Order of Australia (AM) for "service to social justice for women as an activist and writer"

Joyce's published works include:

  • Stevens Joyce, (1985), A History of International Women's Day in words and images, IWD Press

  • Stevens Joyce, (1976), Taking the Revolution Home - Work among Women in the Communist Party of Australia 1920-1945, Sybylla Press

  • Stevens Joyce, (1991), Lightening the Load - Women and Work - A History of WEAC 1982-1989,WEAC

  • Stevens Joyce, (1995), Healing Women - A History of Leichhardt Women's Health Centre, First Ten Years History Project

  • "Because we're Women ......" Written in 1975 for an IWD broadsheet the words which followed have been republished on postcards, stickers, posters and t-shirts in Australia and overseas.

Chapters in:

  • Bevege, James & Shute, (1980), Women, Class and History - Feminist Perspective's on Australia - 1788-1978, Fontana/Collins Lucie Barnes, (1980), Without Fear or Favour, p.149

  • David McKnight, (1986), "The Politics of Reconstructing Socialism", Moving Left, Pluto Press, p.149

  • Jocelynne Scutt, (1993), "A Reasonable Exchange", Glorious Age, Artemis, p.192


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