The issues are similar but social media means modern activism is “global, interconnected and more visible” now.
So said Dr Sharon Crozier-De Rosa, who believes US president Donald Trump has “spurred this massive new activism”.
“I think Trump being elected a couple of years back really made a need for, not just women but minority groups to kind of come out together and be really visible and they did that with the Women's Marches,” she said.
“But what is really interesting is that you might have this social media and new ways of orchestrating activism, but we still rely on the old stuff, like the Women's Marches.”
Dr Crozier-De Rosa and fellow University of Wollongong historian, senior Professor Vera Mackie, launched their new book Remembering Women’s Activism (Routledge 2019) on December 4.
The book, which captures the history and memory of feminist protest across the Asia-Pacific and Anglophone world, was launched as part of a series of events to recognise the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Professor Mackie said women who had been active in trying to change their societies are highlighted in the book.
“The timing also seemed right for our book, with the commemoration of significant anniversaries of women gaining the vote,” she said.
“This year marks the centenary of women’s limited suffrage in the UK (full suffrage being gained in 1928), and 2020 marks the centenary of women’s suffrage in the US.
“Women in Australia and New Zealand gained the vote well before their sisters in the northern hemisphere.”
The book charts the militant suffragist movement; revolutionary nationalists; worker’s rights; and the role of women in the conflicts of the 20th century.
Remembering Women’s Activism also reflects on the new wave of protest that has emerged in the past two years, in response to political events around the world.
“Women activists have been variously needed and derided, but they have always been a source of fascination,” Dr Crozier-De Rosa said.
“Whether protesting silently or loudly, in full sight of the public or in clandestine operations, they were variously lauded as those willing to sacrifice themselves for the cause or dismissed as a public nuisance or condemned as abominable models of femininity.”