Clara M Weeks

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Clara M Weeks is associated with Mooroolbark, Victoria located at these coordinates -37.7851836, 145.3123499

Date of Birth: 1852
Date of Death: 1937
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User Tags: 1891 women's suffrage petition

‘Born teacher’,

, suffragist and equal pay campaigner.

‘Hers is not the iron countenance in which children instinctively recognize a stern unsympathetic mind but the soft kind face of a womanly woman who loves children and knows how to manage them,’ glowed the Weekly Times in 1910, celebrating Clara Weeks’s forty-year teaching career. 

But this gentle ‘womanly woman’ was no shrinking violet. She was a staunch feminist, a suffragist and a vocal advocate of working women’s rights.

Clara Weeks was born in England in 1852 and came to Victoria with her family at the age of six. Described as a ‘born teacher’, she began her career at sixteen, working in many rural and urban schools. She retired in 1913 as the infant mistress at Carlton Primary School, one of the highest positions then attainable for women, at one of Melbourne’s largest government schools..’

Weeks’ experience as a teacher fired her activism for better and fairer working conditions and career opportunities for women and ‘equal pay for equal work’. While the salary and superannuation schemes for male teachers assumed dependants, those for women did not. As Weeks stated in the Weekly Times, ‘hardly any women she knew ... not one … did not have a dependant’.

She was an active and vocal member of many women’s organizations and worked alongside Vida Goldstein on the Victorian Women’s Suffrage Executive Committee.Clara Weeks died in 1937 having influenced hundreds of teachers, thousands of pupils and thousands more women with her advocacy for their rights.

(Information courtesy of Deborah Towns)

This woman signed the 1891 Women's Suffrage Petition You can see the entire petition on the Parliament of Victoria Website.

We encourage you to edit this page to add information or make corrections.

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