The Rose Scott Women Writers' Festival
The Rose Scott Women Writers’ Festival was established in 2013 as an annual flagship event for The Women’s Club. Named after Rose Scott, one of the founders of The Women’s Club, it seeks to honour the memory of this influential woman who used her own writing – speeches, pamphlets and letters – to influence social policy and improve the living conditions of women and children.
The Festival showcases the rich diversity of genres in which contemporary Australian women writers explore issues of personal, social and political concern. The Festival features Australian women writers of fiction and non-fiction, in print, performance, cinematic and electronic media. Offering guests inspiring speakers in welcoming environs, the Rose Scott Women Writers’ Festival has established itself as one of the most significant literary festivals on Sydney’s cultural calendar.
The festival is organised by a committee of the Womens Club:
Rose Scott was born on 8 October 1847 at Glendon, NSW, the fifth of eight children. Educated at home, she read widely and from an early age became concerned about social issues, particularly issues that affected women and children. She was greatly influenced by J. S. Mill's The Subjection of Women (1861) and her library included works by classical and contemporary women novelists and feminists.
Rose Scott became a prolific writer of pamphlets, speeches, letters and articles published in the Sydney press. She became one of the founding members of the Women’s Literary Society in 1889, the Womanhood Suffrage League of New South Wales in 1891, National Council of Women in 1896, The Women’s Club in 1901 and the Women’s Political and Educational League in 1902 and went on to hold executive positions in many other women’s organisations.
More about Rose Scott
Source: Rose Scott material from Judith A. Allen Rose Scott: Vision and Revision in Feminism. OUP, Melbourne, 1994
The Women's Club
“The Women’s Club in Sydney is the outward and visible sign of the progress of women in our country.”
Sydney Stock and Station Journal 13 October 1908 p.8
In the late nineteenth century, despite the ‘separate sexual spheres’ philosophy, women were venturing into the public realm with the formation of associations such as the Women’s Christian Temperance League (1887), the Women’s Literary Society (1889) and the Womanhood Suffrage League (1891) and in 1892, the Women’s College at the University of Sydney was established. On 9 October 1901 a meeting of more than 100 women at The Women’s College founded The Women’s Club ‘to fill some of the needs of intellectual and academic women by offering mental and artistic enjoyment’.
The first President of The Women’s Club was Lady Beaumont. Vice-Presidents were Rose Scott, Mrs David Edgeworth, Mrs John See and Lady Lyne. The first Secretary was Miss E L Sutherland with Edith Fry, Treasurer. Committee members were Dr Mary Booth, Miss Dickson and Miss Harker. The Club immediately established Circles to fulfil its aim.
More about The Women's Club
Dynamic women – inspired by our past, shaping our future