Victorian local government and women's political participation in small towns.

Macgarvey, Anna 2005, Victorian local government and women's political participation in small towns., in Latrobe Univeristy 2nd National Conference on the Future of Australia's Country Towns, Centre for Sustainable Regional Communities, La Trobe University, Bendigo, Vic., pp. 1-15.

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Title Victorian local government and women's political participation in small towns.
Author(s) Macgarvey, Anna
Conference name National Conference on the future of Australia's country towns (2nd: 2005: Bendigo, Australia)
Conference location Bendigo Australia
Conference dates 11-13 Jul. 2005
Title of proceedings Latrobe Univeristy 2nd National Conference on the Future of Australia's Country Towns
Editor(s) Martin, John
Publication date 2005
Conference series National Conference on the Future of Australia's Country Towns
Start page 1
End page 15
Publisher Centre for Sustainable Regional Communities, La Trobe University
Place of publication Bendigo, Vic.
Summary Rural women were involved in the struggle for women's suffrage in Victoria but their entry into local government has been slower than in urban centres. This paper takes as its starting point Ken Dempsey's analysis of the hegemonic masculine structure of small Victorian towns in the 1980s and Amanda Sinclair's notion of the maternal feminist being the prototype of the rural woman councillor at that time. My study, which is based upon a qualitative interview study with 12 women councillors across rural Victoria during February 2004, reveals that women in small towns are now much more likely to challenge the notion of masculine hegemony by playing a more proactive role in community affairs in small towns. For them, local government service is a logical and practical way to help improve the quality of life in their constituencies. This is also because the traditional rural definition of local government with its main function to ensure adequate infrastructure provision for its ratepayers to maintain viable farming and other productive operations is changing. Furthermore, these women challenged the notion of the maternal feminist by embracing broader political agendas and operating with different representational styles than those associated with previous generation of women on local councils in small towns. On a theoretical level, the paper concludes by suggesting that while the notion of a 'critical mass' in terms of women's political participation is important, there is also a need to explore women's accounts of ‘critical acts’ in the everyday decision-making of local government.
ISBN 1920948848
9781920948849
Language eng
Field of Research 160805 Social Change
Socio Economic Objective 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society
HERDC Research category E1 Full written paper - refereed
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30005857

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of History, Heritage and Society
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