Margaret Bearlin


Margaret Bearlin


Born in 1930, I grew up in rural Victoria, in a family of six children. We lived frugally and resourcefully. Education was valued for girls as for boys. In 1948 I won a rare scholarship to Melbourne University studying science and education and was exhilarated by the lively left-wing political clubs and the openness and egalitarianism of the Australian Student Christian Movement. After visiting Auschwitz and seeing the devastation in Europe after World War !!, I would eventually become a Quaker with a lifetime involvement in the peace movement, the women’s movement and the ecumenical movement.

As I worked as a teacher, a staff worker for the ASCM, and then as a teacher educator, I became involved in women’s caucuses in the church, education unions, professional associations, the Australian Labor Party, and the women’s peace movement. I worked against sexism and for gender sensitivity in every aspect of education, from curriculum development to employment opportunities.

Since 1983 I have worked with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom to challenge militarism, campaign against the arms trade, decrease military spending, for an independent foreign policy, and to defend human rights; most recently to implement the UN Women, Peace and Security Agenda affirming women’s essential participation in the peace process

My particular feminist issue relates to the interconnection of all forms of violence against women, in the home and in war, and their connection with violence against nature. I see a deadly alliance of all patriarchal structures: the military /industrial/scientific (academic) complex, involving churches and educational institutions, which is threatening to destroy all life on earth through nuclear holocaust, environmental destruction, and climate change.




'I have tried to portray Margaret's wonderful zest for life, her restlessness and her need to be out there doing.  I have tried to convey her joy of life in the humour in her eyes.  A symbol for WILPF (Women's International League for Peace and Freedom) flutters behind this passionate committed pacifist and feminist.