From its conception in 1985 in the minds of a small number of women, the founding of the NOW in AACE (Network of Women in Australian Adult and Community Education) in 1985 as a network of the Australian Association of Adult Education (AAAE) marked a significant step for women working in vocational and adult education across Australia. Too constrained by the conditions governing networks of the AAAE, in 1989 the Network opted for independence and was incorporated in Victoria under the Associations Incorporations Act 1981. Responsive to its membership base and the changes that were occurring in government policy and adult, community and vocational education, in 2001 the organisation rebadged itself as WAVE (Women in Adult and Vocational Education).

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