In the 1890s Australian and New Zealand women became the first in the world to win the vote. Buoyed by their victories, they promised to lead a global struggle for the expansion of women’s electoral rights. Charting the common trajectory of the colonial suffrage campaigns, James Keating's book Distant Sisters: Australasian Women and the International Struggle for the Vote, 1880-1914 (Manchester UP, 2020) uncovers the personal and material networks that transformed feminist organising. Considering intimate and institutional connections, well-connected elites and ordinary women, this book argues developments in Auckland, Sydney, and Adelaide―long considered the peripheries of the feminist world―cannot be separated from its glamourous metropoles. Focusing on Antipodean women, simultaneously insiders and outsiders in the emerging international women’s movement, and documenting the failures of their expansive vision alongside its successes, this book reveals a more contingent history of international organising and challenges celebratory accounts of fin-de-siècle global connection.
Bede Haines is a solicitor, specialising in litigation and a partner at Holding Redlich, an Australian commercial law firm. He lives in Sydney, Australia. Known to read books, ride bikes and eat cereal (often). firstname.lastname@example.org