The year 1975 was International Women’s Year (IWY), designated as such by the United Nations three years before. IWY was an international consciousness-raising exercise, extending to the international sphere the kind of gender mobilisation that had been taking place in many western countries from the late 1960s. A World Conference on Women held in Mexico City was its focal point and out of it came both a UN Decade for Women and a World Plan of Action agreed to by UN member states. The Plan of Action aimed to eliminate discrimination and promote the status of women, to integrate women in development and to increase the involvement of women in political life and international peace-making. For these things to happen, it was agreed, there needed to be national machinery to advance the equality of women. As we shall see, by the end of the UN Decade for Women more than two-thirds of UN member states had adopted such machinery. The early initiatives by countries such as Australia and Canada were being emulated in most parts of the world.