Jessie AITKEN Biography

New Zealand political activist, labor activist, and social worker. Name variations: Jessie Fraser. Born Jessie Fraser, April 14, 1867, at Ecclesmachan, Linlithgow, Scotland; died on Jan 18, 1934, in Wellington, New Zealand; dau. of Walter Fraser (plowman) and Janet (Hearne) Fraser; m. John Barr Aitken (coal miner, d. 1907), 1884; children: 7 daughters and 4 sons.

Immigrated with family to New Zealand (1874); after husband’s death, became active in several women’s organizations and advocated for political roles for women and enhancement of welfare programs for women and children; joined Wellington Housewives’ Union and was elected to executive and social committees of Social Democratic Party (SDP) (1916); member of Women’s Anti-Conscription League during WWI; elected president of Wellington branch of Women’s International League (1916–18); elected to Wellington Hospital and Charitable Aid Board as Labour candidate (1917); 1st woman to stand for election to Wellington City Council (1919).