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Associate Professor Wendy Weeks

Wendy Weeks made a huge contribution to improving the lives of Australian women by putting women's rights on government and service agencies' agendas.

Inducted:
2005
Category:
Honour Roll

As Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Melbourne, and as founding member of the Australian Association for Social Work and Welfare Education, she played an important role as an educator, supervisor and mentor for many students and practitioners.

Wendy was the author of five books covering social and welfare work, gender studies, public and social policy, and community development. All her books are still used in studies around the world. During a thirty year academic career at McMaster's university in Canada, at Phillip Institute of Technology [now RMIT] and the University of Melbourne, she produced and published numerous articles, research reports and submissions, which testify to her intellectual stature. She placed a particular emphasis on combining critical analysis, practical research and activism.

Her most recent work was as the principal investigator with Deborah Walsh for a study of 400 pregnant women at the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne and their experience of income, social support, and safety during their pregnancy. Wendy was a founding member of Women Against Violence - an Australian Feminist Journal, which linked services and community groups with academic researchers. In the first edition of the Journal she summarised its style as "socially useful, rigorous in its analysis while accessible to the reader". She is warmly remembered for her policy of encouraging students and practitioners to submit articles even when they were not confident in their writing abilities.

Wendy's intellectual leadership in the areas of feminism, community development, and women's experience of citizenship, was recognised across Australia and in internationally. She worked closely with Aboriginal communities recognising their exclusion from equal citizenship and, therefore, equal participation in work and a range of other spheres of life.

For Wendy, who died in July 2004, the description 'feminist' was one to be celebrated. She once described it as being part of "the long tradition of Australian women working for social change, and putting the everyday lived experience of Australian women on the public agenda".

Reviewed 25 May 2022

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