In 2004 Liberal Women was shortlisted for the NSW Premier's History Awards.
When Menzies formed the modern Liberal Party out of the squabbling rabble of the UAP in 1944, he had to cede to the women's organisations formal representation and real power. Liberal Women is the story of why.
It is a tale of strong, vocal, persistent women who carried the liberal flame across Australia in the first half of the 20th century while the men split and merged, and talked and merged and split again.
It is the story of women who grasped the implications of the female suffrage that followed Federation in a way that no others did: winning elections meant winning the female vote; and delivering the female vote gave political power. The Liberal women formed some of the most effective political organisations in the country.
Liberal Women is the first detailed account of these women as political pioneers: as power-brokers and factional warriors, as candidates for office, and as members of parliament. Relying on extensive primary research, much of it previously unpublished, Margaret Fitzherbert describes their political organisations and activity amidst a wealth of biographical detail on women such as Enid Lyons, Elizabeth Couchman, Ivy Deakin, Lady Margaret Forrest and Irene Longman.
Margaret Fitzherbert's book is a comprehensive account of the early female key figures in the Australian Liberal (conservative) movement under its various guises. ... Fitzherbert has covered an amazingly wide area in her researches for her book. Consequently there emerges a well-knitted narrative that constantly informs and sometimes surprises. There is no doubt that by the 1940s the role of women was being better understood by our federal leaders. The role of the Liberals' Menzies and Labor's Curtin in more publicly acknowledging the political importance of women and their ideas is well told in particular by Fitzherbert. Her observations on this period deserve commendation as does her excellent reportage of the suffrage struggles in Australia.
Overall, Fitzherbert's book is a noteworthy addition to the libraries of both Australian political studies and women's affairs. It is well-written, occasionally entertaining and profoundly thoughtful. - Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol 92(1), June 2006
Prologue: A note on the history of Australian liberals
"The desire that many of us cherish"
The State Organisations
The Women's Liberal League of NSW
The Australian Women's National League (Victoria)
The Queensland Women's Electoral League
Lady Forrest and the Australian Women's National League (WA)
The South Australians
Political sisters: Janet Lady Clarke and Eva Hughes
The political daughter: Ivy Deakin Brookes
The professional organiser: Eleanor Cameron Glencross
An early candidate for office: Angela Booth
The first three
From political widow to post-war MP
South Australia's first elected women
Dame Elizabeth Couchman
The Liberal Party
The Liberal Party's founding mothers
The new party
The public face of the new party
Robert Menzies, "Women In War", 1942
Robert Menzies, toast to Elizabeth Couchman, 1960
Robert Menzies, "Women for Canberra", 1943
Liberal women in Parliament
Notes/ Bibliography/ Index
Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: March 2004
Publisher: Federation Press
Country of Publication: AU
Weight (kg): 0.51
Edition Number: 1