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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Vida Goldstein

b. 1869, Portland, Victoria, Australia; d. 1949; South Yarra, Australia

When Vida Goldstein, the charismatic Australian suffragist, toured England in 1911, she was hailed as “the biggest thing that has happened to the woman movement for some time.” Inducted into activism by her suffragist mother, Goldstein was the first woman to stand for parliament in Australia—five times, in fact—never once winning, but each time heightening consciousness of women’s position in society within a comprehensive platform of social justice issues. She was a vocal opponent of capitalism and the White Australia policy, and a staunch pacifist, campaigning for peace during World War I (1914–18) as the general secretary of the United Council for Women’s Suffrage. She organized the Women’s Peace Army in 1915 and, after the war, directed her formidable political skills to the problem of disarmament.