- Nationality Australian
- Born 1 January, 1926
- Occupation Activist, Metalworker, Political candidate, Trade unionist
A prominent unionist and social justice campaigner, Aileen Winifred Beaver ran as a Communist Party of Australia candidate for Auburn in 1978, for Elizabeth in 1981 and for the seat of Sydney in the House of Representatives in 1977, 1983 and 1984.
Aileen Beaver left high school aged 14 and has been a union activist all her working life.
Towards the end of the 60s Aileen Beaver decided to seek work in the metal industry in a successful effort to build support for a campaign to reintroduce equal pay in that industry. Women metal workers had been given equal pay during the second World War ‘to protect men’s jobs’, but this was removed when the war ended.
At the first Women’s Liberation Working Women’s Conference in Melbourne, Aileen tabled questionnaires completed by women in her Malleys workshop. The data revealed that women workers were often as concerned about being treated with respect as workers as they were about pay.
Another measure of her success was her role as secretary of the Shop Committee in the male-dominated workforce at Malleys. She was also active in the Building Workers’ Women’s Committee, and the Working Women’s Group of Women’s Liberation. Equal pay, peace, abortion rights, childcare and International Women’s Day were prominent in the activities of the groups in which she worked.
While at Malleys, in cooperation with Turkish women in the community, Aileen also successfully campaigned to establish a childcare centre in Auburn for their children; the centre is still in existence.
She now lives in the Blue Mountains where she remains a diligent activist and advocate for the regeneration of the natural bushland.
- Putting Skirts on the Sacred Benches: Women Candidates for the New South Wales Parliament, Australian Women's Archives Project, 2006, http://www.womenaustralia.info/exhib/pssb/home.html