Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Vida Golstein

Feminist and Political Activist (1869-1949)

Vida Jane Mary Goldstein was born in Portland, Victoria. She became involved in women's suffrage activities through her mother (1890). Vida soon became active in the National Anti-Sweating League and the Criminology Society. Her primary aim was to achieve women's suffrage - and she campaigned for this (1899-1908).

Australian women were granted the federal vote (1902). Vida stood for the Senate (1903) as an Independent Candidate backed by the Women's Federal Political Association, which was dedicated to the principals for compulsory conciliation and arbitration, equal rights and pay, redistribution of wealth and the appointment of women to official posts. Though she polled well, Vida did not get elected.

Through the renamed Women's Political Association and her own newspaper "Women's Sphere" (owner and editor 1900-1905), Vida began a program of education women voters. She campaigned for and achieved (1908) State Franchise for women. Vida returned to national politics (1908), and founded a second paper "Woman Voter" (1909). Vida continued to stand as Independent Woman Candidate - twice for the Senate (1910 and 1917) and twice for the House of Representative (1913 and 1914). She did not stand again after her second Senate defeat (1917).

Vida also had influence in Australia Legislation with the Childrens' Court Act which she helped draft and which was made law (1906). Vida wrote articles which lead to the implementation of the concept of the basic wage (1907). Vida became increasingly involved with Christian Science, and helped found the Melbourne Christian Science Church. In her last years, Vida lived with her two sisters, one Aileen was also a practitioners within the Christian Science Church. Vida died of cancer (1949) - her death went almost unnoticed - almost.

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