Val Thomson


Val Thomson



Val Thomson. Born in 1950 in Newcastle NSW and went to school there. In 1968, moved to Canberra on an ANU Oriental Studies Scholarship and has lived there ever since (more or less). Majored in Japanese and Asian Civilisations, studied singing in London, came back and qualified as a teacher and then as a professional writer.

Reading The Second Sex in 1969 awoke her feminist consciousness, but marriage, shortly followed by impecunious sole parenthood and physical disability, caused her to miss the second wave of feminism.

Because of her physical limitations, she became an early adopter of computer technology. After a baptism of fire in computer-mediated communications, she decided to stop "discussing" feminism online: the opposition was huge, relentless, and unprincipled. Instead she joined the Women's Electoral Lobby (WEL) and used the Internet to promote it. In August 1995, WEL became the first Australian feminist organisation to have a presence on the worldwide web.

For the next eight years, the WEL website was a contact point as well as a repository of submissions to government, national newsletters, election material, feminist books, and other member contributions. It was recognised by Britain's Social Science Information Gateway (SOSIG) and its election coverage is preserved in Pandora (the Australian Web Archive).

Val is a life member of WEL, and her commitment to feminism continues. A particular interest is the use of social media by young feminists, and their courage and resourcefulness in the face of the vicious opposition they encounter. The young women are winning.



'I had great joy painting Val.  As someone once described her to me, 'Val hugs you with her eyes'.  I have tried to capture that quiet warmth and caring friendship in her eyes, and, her humour, with her toasting us with a tea cup.'