• Henrietta Dugdale (left) and her Google doodle representation. (Wikipedia/Google)
She was the first Australian woman to publicly call for gender equality.
By
Alyssa Braithwaite

13 Apr 2017 - 3:30 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2017 - 3:30 PM

Australian suffragette Henrietta Augusta Dugdale has been chosen to grace the Google homepage today.

On 13 April 1869, Dugdale wrote a letter which was published in the Melbourne Argus, calling for equal justice for women.

She was the first Australian woman to publicly call for gender equality.

In her letter, she described a bill that claimed to secure women's rights to property as a "piece of the grossest injustice", and a "poor and partial remedy for a great and crying evil". 

Born in London, Dugdale moved to Melbourne in 1852, and formed and served as president of the Victorian Women's Suffrage Society, and called for women to have equal legal, political and social rights as men.

Some there are who say “If we permit woman to go beyond her sphere, domestic duties will be neglected.” In plainer language, “If we acknowledge woman is human, we shall not get so much work out of her”. Henrietta Dugdale

Along with suffrage for women, Dugdale campaigned for women’s dress reform, admission of women to the universities, education of the working class and more equal wealth distribution, and an eight-hour work day.

Her feminist views were expressed in her 1883 short book, A Few Hours in a Far Off Age, which she dedicated to politician and chief justice George Higinbotham 'in earnest admiration for the brave attacks made by that gentleman upon what has been, during all known ages, the greatest obstacle to human advancement, the most irrational, fiercest and most powerful of our world's monsters—the only devil—MALE IGNORANCE'.

She lived to see Australian women attain the vote in 1902, when she was 75, due in part to her relentless campaigning. She died in 1918.

In 2013, she was recognised as a critical first-wave Australian feminist, and The Dugdale Trust for Women & Girls - a national harm-prevention institution - is named in honour of her life's work. 

Google wrote: 'Today, we pay tribute to a woman who knew the power of her pen, and used it to fight for equal justice and rights for women.'

The move has been warmly greeted on social media.

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