By -

Author Jacqueline Kent
Reviewer: Laura Gamio
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia

Journalist turned biographer Jacqueline Kent has graced us with both fiction and nonfiction literary masterpieces. Her latest work is the biography of Vida Goldstein, a woman who is a feminist and progressive politician of her time, as she paved the way for the rights of Australia women today.

The author delves into Goldstein with a detailed description of her childhood, upbringing and education, as well as her political activism and development both in the Australian and in the international scene. These factors prove to be a strong impact in her political career, making her a well-known figure by both men and women, becoming an important part of the activist scene of the period and a great influence for coming generations.

Vida was born in the regional town of Portland, Victoria, growing up in Warrnambool. Her family eventually moves to Melbourne with several brothers and sisters and is influenced by the Church of Science. Despite her family’s influence and involvement, it is Julia Sutherland, a primary school teacher that proves to be her stepping stone into the educated world – rare for girls at the time – who influences her enrolment in the Presbyterian Ladies College, an establishment that encourages ladies to study mathematics and sciences just as much as they learn about music and arts.

Amongst many accomplishments for the period, she is a part of the Australian Federation of Women Voters, she writes and distributes her own newspaper Women Votes; and meets Roosevelt in a conference in the United States, where they get along and see eye to eye. In a period where women were to be seen and not be heard, much less make themselves heard, Vida manages to take over the feminist scene and promote women’s rights. For academics and students, this will absolutely be a go-to for research and reference.