Our association was founded in 1920 as an association of women graduates who were inspired by the foundation of the International Federation of University Women earlier in the same year. AFUW Victoria joined associations of women graduates in other states to form the Australian Federation of University Women, now known as Australian Graduate Women. Something of the history of the early years can be learned from a short history of the association put together in 1961 by the then president, Phyllis Ashworth.
The founders of the association shared a common goal of promoting understanding and friendship amongst university women of the world, irrespective of their race, nationality, religion or political opinions. They wished to encourage women to apply their knowledge and skills to the problems arising at all levels of public life and to encourage their participation in the solving of these problems. The association’s logo, The Lamp and the Flame, symbolises these aims.
We still endorse these aims today. In the words of our Constitution we advocate:
• the right of women and girls to education in order to reach their full potential;
• education as a means of influencing and benefiting society;
• the recognition and protection of human rights; and
• peace, justice and equality.
To contribute to these goals, Graduate Women Victoria
• conducts a scholarship program and other educational activities for women;
• advocates for the protection and extension of women’s rights and human rights generally in the public arena;
• provides opportunities for graduate women to share knowledge and interests; and
• co-operates with other organisations with similar aims.
Graduate Women Victoria assists the careers of Victorian postgraduate and undergraduate students through its annual awards of scholarships and bursaries. These awards are made possible by the generosity of benefactors and members. The funds are held in trust by the Australian Communities Foundation. Donations are welcome. Please use the GWV scholarship donation form.
Graduate Women Victoria advocates the advancement of women everywhere. At a state level we have recently approached the government about the harm being done to women’s educational prospects by the funding cuts to TAFE. Nationally we have worked through Australian Graduate Women to promote the Gonski reforms. Internationally we are vitally concerned with violence against women, and support the work of Graduate Women International to this end.