Gladys Ruth Gibson

Gladys Ruth Gibson (1901 – 1972) educationist and women’s leader
Gladys Ruth Gibson was actively involved in the National Council of Women, the United Nations Association of Australia, the Good Neighbour Council and the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia. In addition, she served on selection committees for Churchill fellowships and nursing scholarships. These duties never overshadowed her concern for individuals. She was a devout Anglican.

While influential and respected within her teaching profession, Gibson was better known for her work with the National Council of Women—at the State, national and international levels. In 1938 she had been one of ten Australian delegates (and their secretary) to the jubilee conference of the International Council of Women, Edinburgh. As South Australian president (1950-54) of the N.C.W., she arranged and headed a women’s welcome to Queen Elizabeth II in 1954. Gibson was president (1952-56) of the National Council of Women of Australia and vice-president (1953-56) of the international body.

The Federal government had selected her as an official guest at the coronation in 1953, and as a representative at the tenth and eleventh sessions of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, held in Geneva (1956) and New York (1957); at the 1957 meeting she was elected rapporteur to the commission. These sessions examined women’s access to education, economic opportunity, tax and legal questions, and the nationality of married women. Gibson travelled extensively to attend conferences and executive meetings of the International Council of Women, and of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Her wide interests also led to her involvement as an office-bearer in the State division of the United Nations Association of Australia, in the Soroptimist and Lyceum clubs, Adelaide, in the Good Neighbour Council of South Australia and in the State section of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia. In addition, she served on selection committees for Churchill fellowships and nursing scholarships. These duties never overshadowed her concern for individuals, shown in her many practical acts of kindness and consideration. She was a devout Anglican.

Gibson lived in East Terrace, and enjoyed carpentry, gardening and motoring. Although not radical in her views, she was a feminist of her day and a believer in social justice. No position she held was a sinecure: she worked at all of them, and was impressive both as a chairwoman and a public speaker. Tall and strongly built, she dressed impeccably and had considerable presence. Some found her intimidating, but those who knew her appreciated her intelligence, warmth and humour, her generous and unpretentious nature, her skill as a hostess and her attachment to her family.

Gibson had been appointed O.B.E. in 1953 and was elevated to C.B.E. in 1970. She died of cancer on 23 August 1972 at Belair and was cremated. In 1974 a bronze sundial was erected in her memory at the Adelaide Festival Centre; from 1977 the Ruth Gibson memorial award has assisted women to further their studies and careers.

Complete article : http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A140303b.htm

Refer also : http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0513b.htm

The National Council of Women : http://www.ncwa.org.au

The Ruth Gibson Memorial Award : http://www.austcolled.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2967&Itemid=718

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