Edith Cowan

Edith Cowan (1861–1932)
Edith Cowan was born in Geraldton, Western Australia. She was the first woman member of an Australian parliament. She was also a social worker and fought for women's rights.
From an early age Cowan wanted to help people to improve their lives. She was a leader of many groups that helped women and children.  

In 1921 she was elected to the Western Australian Parliament. As a Member of the Legislative Assembly she worked for migrants' welfare, infant health centres and women's rights. She introduced laws that allowed women to become lawyers. Cowan lost her seat in parliament in 1924, but kept helping people.  

A university in Western Australia is named after her and her picture has appeared on stamps.

More information on Edith Cowan is included on the Stories of Democracy CD-ROM.

Back to Biographies Gallery