Professor Rae Frances will be speaking at the National Museum on Tuesday.
What would our Australian feminist forebears think of the latest debates about women in Parliament?
Academic Rae Frances has no doubt the women who campaigned long and hard for women to be able to vote, and who, 100 years ago, saw a century of promising developments ahead, would be appalled.
''I think they would be so shocked to know that a century later, a lot of the same things are being said as were being said in 1913,'' she said.
Professor Frances, who is dean of arts at Monash University and has been researching and teaching for the past 30 years about different aspects of women's history, will be speaking at the National Museum on Tuesday about feminism in 1913 - the year that is the subject of the museum's major centenary exhibition, Glorious Days.
The year Canberra was officially named was also a landmark year in many aspects of society, a time of optimism that has been retrospectively overshadowed by the First World War breaking out the following year.
''This was a really exciting moment in Australia's history, just a little over a decade after the formation of the Commonwealth, and a lot of exciting things were happening in the political and social space in Australia,'' she said.
''Australia was regarded as the social laboratory of the world for its really quite innovative legislation in regards to voting and industrial relations and pensions and social welfare and so on.''
And for women in Australia - one of only two countries in the world where women were able to vote - the future seemed especially bright.
''In 1913, [women] were really very buoyed up by the possibilities that the vote opened up for them, to participate in national life, to influence the way in which legislators voted, but also to become members of Parliament themselves,'' she said.
''They had a very active campaign in Australia, but they also were really active on the international stage, because they were regarded as the pioneers by their feminist sisters internationally. They were actually invited and celebrated wherever they went internationally to speak.''
But as with many aspects of life, public and private, the Great War stalled things to the extent that by 1920, little advancement had been made for the feminist cause.
Pioneering feminist politician Vida Goldstein tried five times, between 1903 and 1917, to get into Parliament, and by the time she made her last bid, she had so few votes that she had to pay back her election deposit.
''I think that the whole kind of solidifying of the two-party system didn't make much space for women, either as independent candidates or actually as candidates for those parties,'' Professor Frances said.
''So that kind of high optimism proved to be unfounded and, as we've seen, it was a really long road to get women into parliament. Vida Goldstein had seriously hoped that she would be the first female prime minister of Australia, and we saw how long it took to get a female prime minister.''
And while women did make many advancements over the ensuing decades, gaining access to different types of jobs, higher wages, and better child custody arrangements, they were mired in an environment that was generally unsympathetic.
Professor Frances will be speaking on Tuesday at the National Museum as part of the Glorious Days lecture series, from 12.30pm to 1.30pm in the Visions Theatre.
■ Glorious Days: Australia 1913 runs at the National Museum of Australia until October 13. Sundays are free of charge.