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Encyclopedia > Jessie Street

Jessie Mary Grey Street (1889-1970) - Australian suffragette, feminist and human rights campaigner.

Born: 18 April 1889 Chota Nagpur, Bihar, India. Died: 2 July 1970 Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Jessie Street was a key figure in Australian political life for over 50 years, from the suffrage struggle in England to the removal of Australia’s constitutional discrimination against Aboriginal people in 1967 . She is recognised both in Australia and internationally for her activism in women's rights, social justice and peace.

Jessie Street campaigned for equality of status for women, equal pay, appointment of women to public office and their election to parliament. In 1911 she attended a conference of the International Council for Women in Rome. She was a co-founder of NSW Social Hygiene Association (1916)and was a foundation member of the Sydney Branch of the League of Nations Union in 1918. She attended League of Nations Assemblies in Geneva in 1930 and 1938. She was also Co-founder (1928) and President of United Associations of Women. Jessie was the only Australian woman delegate at the founding of the United Nations in 1945 and established the UN Commission of the Status of Women and Charter of women's rights; she was the initiator of the 1967 “Aboriginal” amendment of the Australian Constitution; the colleague of Pablo Picasso on the World Peace Council Executive. She was friendly towards the Soviet Union during the Cold War which led to her being depicted as "Red Jessie" by the press. This depiction aroused suspicion and led to her being monitored by four Australian Intelligence agencies. This surveilance has ensured her life has left a long trail of documents within the National Archives of Australia.

Further Reading

Heather Radi, Jessie Street, documents and essays, Women's Redress Press, 1990. ISBN 1875274030

Peter Sekuless, Jessie Street, a rewarding but unrewarded life, Prentice Hall, 1978. ISBN 070221227X

Jessie Street, ed Lenore Colthart, Jessie Street, a revised autobiography, Federation Press, 2004. ISBN 1862875022

Jessie Street, Truth or Repose, Australasian Book Society, 1966. ASIN B0006BXT10

External Links

  • Jessie Street | Uncommon Lives | National Archives of Austrlia (http://uncommonlives.naa.gov.au/life.asp?lID=3) Jessie Street webpage on the National Archives of Australia website.
  • Jessie Street National Women's Library (http://www.jessiestreetnationalwomenslibrary.com) Official Website
  • Jessie Street | University of Sydney | Women's College (http://www.thewomenscollege.com.au/history/jessie_street.htm)
  • Jessie Street | Australian Women (http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0013b.htm) Australian Women's Archives Project.
  • Jessie Street Papers | National Library of Australia (http://www.nla.gov.au/ms/findaids/2683.html) National Library of Australia.
  • Jessie Street | Federation Press (http://www.federationpress.com.au/bookstore/book.asp?isbn=1862875022) Federation Press.
  • Jessie Street | Australian Broadcasting Corporation (http://www.abc.net.au/dimensions/dimensions_in_time/Transcripts/s707499.htm) ABC broadcast on Jessie Street.

  Results from FactBites:
Jessie Street (482 words)
JESSIE MARY GREY STREET, feminist and social activist, was born in 1889 at Ranchi, Chota Nagpur, India, daughter of Charles Alfred Gordon Lillingston and Mabel Harriet (Ogilvie).
Jessie was educated at Wycombe Abbey School, England, then matriculated by private study in March 1908 and enrolled in Arts at the University of Sydney.
Jessie Street represented Australia at the United Nations Economic and Social Council in 1946, and at the United Nations Commission for the Status of Women in 1947.
  More results at FactBites »



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