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.
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