Solomon, Bertha

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SOLOMON, BERTHA (1892–1969), South African lawyer and politician. Born in Minsk, Russia, she was taken to South Africa at the age of four to join her father Idel Schwarz, a Zionist pioneer. She was the second South African woman to be admitted to the bar, practicing in Johannesburg. She was elected to the Transvaal provincial council in 1933 and from 1938 to 1958 sat in the Union Parliament as a member of the United Party. A vigorous champion of women's rights, she was prominent in the campaign for votes for women in 1930. Through her persistent efforts she was responsible for the Matrimonial Affairs Act of 1953 which removed some of the disabilities of women resulting from the marriage laws. She was also a leading figure in the National Council of Women and was a founder of the South African Women's Auxiliary Air Force in World War ii. Her autobiography, Time Remembered, appeared in 1968.

[Louis Hotz]