During the 1930s Depression the New South Wales Government passed the Married Women (Lecturers and Teachers) Act, 1932, which removed married women from the State service. There was provision for their re-employment on a temporary basis on grounds of ‘hardship’ but with catastrophic loss of salary and status. The legislation was interpreted by women as a backlash against legal, civic and economic gains of the previous 50 years. Their battle for repeal (achieved in 1947) was led by a coalition between Jessie Street’s United Associations of Women and women within the New South Wales Teachers’ Federation. Their campaign demonstrates the strengths and weaknesses of woman-centred politics in the interwar years, when women’s organisations could mobilise quickly, but their efforts were weakened by the prevarication of organised labour both in the Labor Party and the Teachers’ Federation, and by lack of unity among women themselves as they began to polarise around issues of socialism and imperialism.