It is no surprise that women have always played an important role in academia, however what may not be so obvious is the demographic percentage that female identifying students have traditionally made up at UWA.
The University of Western Australia opened in 1913 and had a total of 184 enrolments, with 37%, approximately 69 of those students being female identifying. This is quite the difference from a 49.6% average in 2019. The following table breaks down, on an average of a 20 year progression, the demographic makeup of female identifying students at UWA, since its opening.
|Year||Approx. Enrolment Number||Female Identifying Students|
|1913||184||37% or 69 students|
|1920||332||41% or 136 students|
|1940||984||39% or 384 students|
|1960||3,508||24% or 842 students|
|1980||9,791||40% or 3,916 students|
|2000||13,503||51% or 6,887 students|
|2010||22,159||49.2% or 10,902 students|
|2016||24,161||49.6% or 11,984 students|
From these numbers, it becomes quite obvious how important campaigns and spaces which encourage female identifying students to enrol, and stay enrolled, in university are. Autonomous spaces like the Women’s department, Women’s Faculty and Club Representatives are typically invaluable resources for any and all motivation or help one may need in the wide spectrum of challenges that female identifying students face at university.
On Campus Accomplishments of Female Identifying Students at UWA:
It is both important and motivational to highlight the achievements of female identifying students at UWA since its establishment in 1913. Notable individuals include Margaret Fairweather, who became the first woman to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts with honours in English and Economics in 1916, or for women in leadership, Susan Boyd who became the first ever female Guild President at UWA, as well as the first female president of a student organisation in the entirety of Australia. Women like this have paved the way for increased success and opportunities for female identifying students at UWA. Today, the UWA Guild has had 16 female identifying guild presidents, including 5 in the last 10 years.
The Present Day and Moving Forward:
Despite the extreme advances women and more currently, non-binary people have made, it is still so important to stay motivated and utilise all resources you have access to. At UWA this is most notably your Student Guild, Women’s Department, Autonomous Collectives on campus and your Faculty and Club representatives. These representatives are around to help and ensure that your needs are represented equitably in whatever capacity you require. Be sure to keep an eye out for initiatives such as ‘Ask for Angela’ at the UWA Tav and many events on campus!
Here’s to over 20 thousand!
~ Shelby Robinson