Anna Stewart Memorial Project

The Anna Stewart Memorial Project (ASMP) is held annually by SA Unions and the AEU funds its women members to participate.

This training program is designed specifically to give women an insight into how unions operate and ways that women can be more active and get involved in their union.

The Anna Stewart Memorial Project is an opportunity for women from different unions in South Australia to learn how other unions are organised, what their focus is and the overall relationship that exist between the various unions in SA.

There are opportunities for participating women to have time in their own union where they are able to become involved in the issues which are important to members and participate in day-to-day union activities with officials and other trade unions.

The first Anna Stewart Project was held in Victoria in 1984. SA Unions held its first program in 1985.

The Project aims to increase women's active union involvement and to increase the union movement's acceptance and understanding of women members and their specific issues and needs.

To learn more about the ASMP or enquire about the program please contact the AEU Women's Officer on [email protected] or phone us on: 8172 6300

Active members' opportunity

In 2018 there were two worthy AEU participants in the Anna Stewart Memorial Project that was held at the end of May and August.  Vicki Lacey and Amanda Hockey, both teachers in country locations, completed the two week program and believe it was a very worthwhile program.  They valued the opportunity to experience what AEU officers do on a daily basis, including attending an Enterprise Bargaining.

In 2019 there was only one AEU participant in the Anna Stewart Memorial Project.  Kate McAuley, a teacher from Lyndoch Primary School, took part in the program during May and June.  Kate wrote a fabulous Journal article about having the opportunity  to meet women from other unions and develop a greater understanding of the struggles of women in other industries/unions.

In 2020 there were three AEU participants in the Anna Stewart Memorial Project. Karen McFarlane from Port Lincoln Primary School, Trina Howlett from Heathfield Primary School and Jennifer Young from Adelaide West Special Education Centre.

Anna Stewart (1947–1983)

Anna Stewart was a journalist and active Victorian union official from 1974 until her tragic death in 1983, pioneering the rights of working women particularly working mothers.

At a time when female workers were largely ignored, she fought hard to make sure they were involved in their union's decision making processes.

She knew that strategies needed to be developed to address the issues confronting working women and to highlight the important contribution that women make to the trade union movement.

Anna successfully led the first blue-collar union campaign for maternity leave award provisions; she fought for childcare facilities in car plants and led campaigns that saw sexual harassment recognised as an industrial issue.

She was a foundation member of the ACTU Women's Committee and worked tirelessly on programs for the Working Women's Charter.

As Senior Federal Industrial Officer with the Municipal Officers Association, Anna initiated women's committees in most state branches of the union and developed strong policies in relation to women workers.

Although Anna Stewart's life ended when she was just 35, she did more for women workers in her ten years as a union official than most could achieve in a lifetime.

Most female workers have gained strength from the fact that she combined motherhood with a demanding career, often breast-feeding her son during Commission hearings or seeking adjournments to do so, demonstrating to the Commission the demands of being a working mother.

The Anna Stewart Project does more than just recognise the outstanding contribution of its namesake but also encourages women to seek positions within the union movement.