Women’s liberation


Donated by Peter Stanley

Museum of Australian Democracy collection

The Venus symbol, comprising a circle above a cross, was derived from the astrological symbol denoting the planet Venus. Historically the symbol has also been associated with the Roman goddess Venus, and may represent the hand mirror of Venus. It continues to be used in scientific literature to denote the female sex. From the late 1960s the women’s movement in Australia, as in the United States and the United Kingdom, adopted the symbol and incorporated the powerful image of a clenched fist at its centre, often using the radical colour of red.

The symbol on this badge is depicted in purple, one of the three colours associated with the women’s movement. (The other two colours are white and green.) The colours were first adopted in the early twentieth century by the Women’s Social and Political Union, founded by Emmeline Pankhurst in the United Kingdom during the campaign for women’s suffrage. The colours became more broadly associated with the women’s movement from 1975, designated by the United Nations as International Women’s Year.