Edna Ryan was a leading figure in three eras of feminism in the 20th century. As a feminist and labour activist she is credited with achieving equal pay for women, maternity leave and work based child care. Ryan wrote numerous articles, conference papers, submissions to government and two books, Gentle invaders (1975) and Two thirds of a man (1984).
Edna Ryan lived in one of the older blocks of units in Cook Street, Glebe, from 1980 to 1990. During that time she celebrated her 80th birthday, and hundreds of people gathered at Glebe Town Hall to take part in the celebration.
In the period she lived in Glebe she remained active in a wide range of feminist issues. In 1984 she published Two Thirds of a Man, about the struggle by women workers in the laundry, retail and tobacco industries to improve their wages and conditions in the early years of this century. She dedicated this book to her older sisters, who had worked in these areas and inspired her with the importance of the dignity of paid labour. The following year she was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters by Sydney University.
Posted on April 6, 2011 by Peter
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