ABSTRACT

When and why have women taken to the streets? Over the life of the women’s

movement in Australia, there have been thousands of protests across the country,

covering a wide array of issues. From dressing as men and staging noisy sit-ins

in bars that refused to serve female patrons, to creating a women-only peace

camp at a missile base in the outback, to more straight-forward marches on any

and all issues relating to women’s rights, Australian women have been creative

and passionate about bringing their causes into the public eye. The previous

chapter explored the discursive aspects of the women’s movement: the ideas and

meaning created by women’s movement actors over time. This chapter examines

the embodiment and communication of those ideas through protest. It draws on a

new protest event database to present both a bird’s-eye view of feminist protest

between 1970 and 2005, and case studies of specific events. As protests are a

vital part of the story of the women’s movement, this chapter seeks to address

three interrelated questions: When and how have women protested publicly? To

what extent were those protests noticed and reported? And how can social scien-

tists reconstruct and analyse those protests?