CoAL Herstory

COAL was formed late in 1993 with a small group of lesbians to work on language for the Platform of Action for Beijing ’95. [In 2021 we made a small variation in the capitalisation of our organisational name (changing it from COAL to CoaL) when we re-designed our logo,]

* Eileen Pittaway attended the Asia/Pacific Forum in Manila in 1994 to work on a draft action plan which covered a number of areas nominated as important for women – lesbian issues had not been considered important although some language emerged.

* This draft plan was worked on by Australian NGOs through CAPOW and meetings were held in various locations to pool ideas.

* OSW and the Federal Minister (Carmen Lawrence) managed to get funding from the Federal Government for various meetings and reports; and importantly to send representatives to Beijing. The Australian Government delegation consisted of men and women!

* Many terms for lesbian issues were drafted for the language in the Platform of Action and the final compromise of sexual orientation that was finally written into parts of the sections in the Platform for Action was hard won.

* COAL had a high profile in Beijing both at the NGO gathering and at the Conference where myself [Barbara Palmer] and Eileen represented lesbian issues and lobbied hard.

* COAL continued to attend CSW meeting at the UN and was instrumental in drawing up the report from Australian NGOs to rebut the Howard Government’s report to OSW. It created publicity in Australia when I [Barbara Palmer]I presented it to delegates in New York in 1996. 

Earlier version written by Barbara Palmer, 2010

See also Consie Lamour, Social Policy Group, 27.9.75. UN Fourth World Conference on Women: Planning, Setbacks and Achievements, Current Issues Brief 5, 1995-96.0.