In 2010 female academics, postgraduates and post-doctoral fellows across Australia and New Zealand were asked whether they saw a place for a professional organisation for women who study and work on the ancient world. The responses we received over that year formed the basis for Australasian Women in Ancient World Studies.

As a consequence of those initial discussions, it was decided to hold the first meeting of the organisation at the 32nd annual meeting of the Australasian Society for Classical Studies (ASCS) in January 2011. With the generous assistance of the Classical Association of New South Wales, ASCS and a number of private donors, the society was launched at a luncheon with a guest speaker. Professor Vivienne Gray from the University of Auckland illustrated, through the careers of two notable New Zealand scholars Agatha Thornton and Daphne Hereward, the nature of the history of women in the discipline.

In accordance with the wishes of those attending the inaugural AWAWS meeting and those who contributed to discussions beforehand, local chapters were established in Melbourne and Sydney mid 2011. AWAWS continues to grow and gain new members by holding an annual general meeting, events at conferences and at a local chapter level.


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