Marilyn Godley first joined Graduate Women Victoria in the early 1980s. Then and now she has worked to create scholarship opportunities for Indigenous women students.
In our centennial year, Marilyn recorded her memories of her time with AFUW-Vic:
I reflected on my start in AFUW – I think it was 1982 – as a new arrival from the US where I had been in the American Association of University Women. Back then there was a large number of members – about 500 as I remember, and several branches:a Peninsula branch, a city branch and the Southern Suburbs branch. Marian and I attended a Southern Suburbs meeting at Monash which had invited the 5 women of the founding ‘class’ of the Monash Orientation Scheme for Aborigines. They told our small group about the challenges they had faced making their decision to progress their education. Often they had to leave country, family and often work, to manage that loss and the transition to cold urban life and a large university. I have never felt so humbled – although our recent scholarship award presentations does that well too. Marian and I came away determined that we HAD to do SOMETHING to make life a bit easier and encourage them to stick with their studies. Backyard bbq parties raised a bit of money for a meagre scholarship.. but it was a start, which after a bit of a hiatus, continues.
After a few years I took on the role of State Membership Secretary, partly in resistance to the prior Secretary’s insistence that women who ‘only’ graduated from Institutes were not eligible for full membership, they could only be Associate Members. Thankfully, that was eventually overturned. I also updated the paper based membership records and hand addressed newsletters, to – gasp – computerised records and printed mailing labels! Progress!