Film: Brazen Hussies




This documentary gives fresh insights and encourages discussion about women’s struggle for equal rights in recent Australian history.

Director-writer Catherine Dwyer, with a creative team of talented women, has used archival footage, personal collections of photographs and interviews with 25 activists to tell the story of the second wave of The Women’s Liberation Movement during 1965 to 1975.



For the first time, this film tells how a small group of women meeting in private homes in Brisbane, demanded equality with men. They started a movement which turned into a turbulent period of consciousness-raising about the role of women – who were leading a life of domesticity, child rearing and menial work. It also covers tensions involved in shaping the movement, such as those surrounding the inclusion of lesbians and Aboriginal women.

Women held public meetings, chained themselves to hotel bars and Commonwealth buildings, had violent confrontations with the police, and were documented by ASIO.

The movement dealt with equal pay for equal work, reproductive rights, childcare, racism, violence and rape – all of which became crucial elements in the politics of the time.



The Women’s Electoral Lobby followed. It started in 1972 and led to important changes in Government policies when Whitlam became Prime Minister in 1973. Changes were made to family law, workplace conditions, domestic violence, and pensions were introduced for single mothers – but gender inequality still exists.

The end of the film shows some of the change in society today – men and women marching together in support of LGBTI rights, Trans genders and Black Lives Matter.

Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech reminds us of the importance of revisiting history, and that more change is needed.

When I left school my choices of a career were few – nursing or teaching were my best alternatives. I chose nursing, when men were paid more than women.



When I opened a business the bank lent  me money on the condition that my husband guarantied repayment. Our earnings and assets were equal at that time. I think journalism was the only profession where there was equal pay – but equal opportunity was another matter.

The film will hopefully be used as a resource in school classrooms and generally in the community,

93 minutes.

Showing in an exclusive season at Luna Leederville from November 5th.


Watch the trailer…