On Wikipedia

Eva Cox AO (born 21 February 1938) is an Austrian-born Australian writer, feminist, sociologist, social commentator and activist. She has been an active advocate for creating more civil societies. She is a long-term member of Women's Electoral Lobby. She is now involved in projects looking at social and ethical accounting for responsible business enterprises.

Early life and education

Eva Maria Hauser was born into a Jewish family in Vienna in 1938, less than three weeks before the Anschluss (12 March 1938). She and her family were declared stateless. The following year, her mother Ruth, a final-year medical student, took her to England where she spent the war, technically as an enemy alien. Her father, Richard Hauser, joined the British Army in Palestine, and her grandparents and other relatives took refuge in Sydney, Australia. After the war her father worked for the United Nations Refugee Association in Rome, where Eva continued her schooling for two years, joining her mother’s extended family in Sydney in 1948. It was only in Australia that she started becoming aware of her Jewish identity and the Jewish community. She is now an atheist and a humanist.

Two years after arriving in Sydney, her father began a relationship with the pianist Hephzibah Menuhin, who was at that time married to an Australian grazier, Lindsay Nicholas, and living in western Victoria. Hauser and Menuhin divorced their respective spouses in order to marry, Menuhin becoming Eva's stepmother.

Eva attended the University of Sydney in 1956–57, where she became associated with the Sydney Push. Abandoning university, she travelled in Europe, married an English photographer in 1962, and gave birth to their daughter Rebecca in 1964. She returned to study as a single mother in the early 1970s, graduating with Honours in Sociology from the University of New South Wales in 1974 and becoming a tutor and research consultant in that department. She was part of the feminist magazine Refractory Girl in 1980s and became a media spokeswoman. She also joined the Australian Communist Party as an anti-war and feminist advocate. She also established the first Commonwealth-funded after school childcare centre.


In the 1970s, Eva became a spokeswoman for the Women's Electoral Lobby. She was Director of the New South Wales Council for Social Service from 1977–81. Later she helped to found the Women's Economic Think Tank. She was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 1980.

In 1981 and 1982 she was an adviser to the Federal Shadow Minister for Social Services, Senator Don Grimes. Between 1989 and 1994 she ran a private consultancy, Distaff Associates, with Helen Leonard, and has lectured since 1994 till 2007 at the University of Technology, Sydney, finishing as Program Director, Social Inquiry. She is currently a Fellow of the Centre for Policy Development and Professorial Fellow at Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at UTS. .

Her ABC Boyer Lectures in 1995, entitled A Truly Civil Society argued that social capital is more important than financial capital. The following year her book, Leading Women, addressed the problems women face in exercising power. Her current work on social policy looks at how current policies for both Indigenous people and women fail to recognise the value of non material social relationships.


She was appointed an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia in 1995 for her services to women's welfare.[1]

She was named Humanist of the Year in 1997 by the Council of Australian Humanist Societies.

In 2011, she received an Australia Post Legends Award and her face appeared on a postage stamp as part of a series of four stamps honouring women who have advanced the cause of gender equality. The other three women were Germaine Greer, Elizabeth Evatt and Anne Summers.[2]


  • Cox E. and Goodman J., Bullying at an Australian university: practices and implications, EUR October 2005
  • Cox, Eva, In Defence of Social Capital: A reply to Blue Book 8, Arena Magazine 76 June 2005
  • Cox E. (2005), A Better Society: Ingredients for Social Sustainability in ed Adams P and Spender D., The Ideas Book, UQP Brisbane
  • Bloch, B and Cox E (2005), Jewish Women and Australian in Braham, G and Mendes P. Jews in Australian Politics, Sussex University Press
  • Cox E. (2002), Australia, Making the Lucky country in Putnam R., Democracies in Flux: The evolution of social capital in contemporary society, OUP NY
  • Cox E (2000), The Light and Dark of Volunteering (2000) in Warburton J and Oppenheimer M (Ed), Volunteers and Volunteering, Federation Press, Sydney.
  • Cox E (2000), Diversity and Community: Conflict and Trust? in Vasta E (Ed), Citizenship, Community and Democracy, Macmillan UK.
  • Cox E and Caldwell C (2000), Making Policy Social in Winter, I ed., Social Capital and Public Policy.