World-acclaimed feminist, beloved educator and widely published author who was nothing short of brilliant, Dr Dale Spender AM has passed away aged 80.
A true pioneer for women’s equality who elevated her fellow writers and educators and cheekily encouraged women to be bold and change the world, Dr Dale Spender AM has sadly passed away, aged 80.
Recalling his favourite memory of his sister, Mr Spender recited one of her famous quotes that encapsulated her spirit.
It reads: “Feminism has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practised no cruelties. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions, for safety on the streets, for childcare, for social welfare, for rape crisis centres, women’s refugees, reforms in the law. If someone says, ‘oh I’m not a feminist,’ I ask, ‘why? What’s your problem?”
At heart a teacher and a writer and always a feminist, Dale Spender lived a life driven by passion for women’s equality and for education.
She published and edited over 30 books and many more articles, book chapters and blog entries on feminism, women’s history and literature, education and new technologies.
In 1980, Dale published Man Made Language – originally her PhD thesis.
The work established her as a feminist academic and remains influential in contemporary analysis of sexism in language and in the social and political reality it creates.
Reclaiming women’s intellectual heritage, she said, was a deeply feminist act: “Unless we can reconstruct our past, draw on it and transmit it to the next generation, our oppression persists.” (Women of Ideas, 1982).
On returning to Australia, Dale was criticised by those working in the same intellectual fields as not being scholarly, as too prolific, as a populist and tall poppy.
She applied for several academic positions in Australia but was not successful, perhaps on the grounds that are familiar to other intellectuals who made their name and fame outside of Australia.
Or perhaps it was because she cheekily advised women that to change the world, they should be rude to men, three times a day.
Source: ‘Brilliantly controversial’: Vale Dr Dale Spender AM