Anna Stewart Memorial Project

Upcoming Victorian Programs:
Monday 21 October – Friday 1 November 2019



Project Background and Description

Anna Stewart was a Victorian union official active in the union movement between 1974 and 1983. Anna was passionately dedicated to raising awareness of and addressing the issues confronting working women. Anna believed that in order it achieve this, it is vital for women to become active in their unions, to take on leadership roles and to work together to achieve common goals.

Tragically, Anna passed away in 1983, aged 35. However, the influence of Anna's life and work remains immeasurable. She brought hope and support to women throughout the trade union movement, providing them with the strength and confidence to continue the fight.

After Anna’s death a number of trade union friends and colleagues met to discuss how best to remember her life and work. The Anna Stewart Memorial project was thus born. The project was conceived as an annual two week on the job training program for women unionists, giving participants access to union organisations and the opportunity to develop their awareness of the ways in which unions can work to redress the issues faced by women.

Project Scope

The Anna Stewart Memorial Project was established in 1984 as a way of promoting women’s leadership within the union movement, and empowering women to gain access to and influence over decision making structures.

The ever-changing face of the industrial relations system and the political climate in which it exists has given cause for the scope and design of the VTHC’s ASMP program to change too. The brief of the 2019 ASMP is empowering women to mobilise within their union’s structure, to learn campaigning skills, and to think about how they can flex their campaigning muscles in order to create change. They will train as activists and be named as such.

Feedback sought from recent past participants revealed the high level of value they placed on pilot sessions that were trialed during the program, specifically the Talking Rights and Taking Action on Rights sessions. These two sessions were designed to educate the program participants on current industrial struggles facing women workers, and how to combine and apply union strength with campaigning knowledge to combat them.

Intended outcomes

• Educate activists on the history, structure, and context of the union movement, its purpose, and current challenges facing women workers.

• Equip activists with the foundation skills to go forth and organise, both in their workplaces and their communities.

• Train activists in basic campaign skills that can be built upon and utilized through continuing workshops at Trades Hall and campaign actions within the trade union movement.

• Provide activists with the opportunity to devise and execute part of a campaign strategy that focuses on improving the rights of women in their workplaces and unions.

Actions in your union

It is expected that while on placement with their host union, participants will be given a range of experiences that add to the depth and breadth of their knowledge the trade union movement, its operations, and what it means to be a union official.

A comprehensive program should be planned for activists to ensure that their time is well utilised and their learning is maximised.


The application form is available here

For more information please contact Therese O'Loughlin