YYang Berbahagia Tan Sri Datin Paduka Seri (Dr.) Aishah Ghani was born on 15 December 1923 in Kampung Sungai Serai, Hulu Langat, Selangor. She was married to Encik Abdul Aziz Abu Hassan (Allahyarham) and was blessed with four children: Shairudin, Mariati, Datuk Astaman and Zarim. Her early education started in Sekolah Melayu Bukit Raya, Cheras, Selangor. Then she continued her secondary education in Diniyah Puteri, Padang Panjang, Sumatera Barat, Indonesia, from year 1936 to 1939. She had then entered Maktab Perguruan Tinggi Islam di Padang, Sumatera Barat, Indonesia in 1940-1943, and finally took a journalism course in Regent Street Polytechnic in London, on April 1955 till December 1958.
Her involvement in politics had started with her career as a journalist for Pelita Malaya, the official voice of Parti Kebangsaan Melayu (PKM). As soon as PKM was formed, she became a committee member and at the same time led the women wing known as Angkatan Wanita Sedar (AWAS). She had joined in rallies and movements fighting for independence in Sultan Sulaiman Club, Kuala Lumpur. In 1946, she left the party and became the member of UMNO in 1949. Her involvement in UMNO began when she became UMNO member for Pasar Pudu District. She joined UMNO Kampung Baru in 1949 and was entrusted with the position of Secretary.
As soon as she returned from London in 1959, she had also worked as a journalist in Berita harian and an editor in New Straits Times News Group. She then made a graceful exit from journalism in 1963 when she was made a member of Majlis Tertinggi UMNO and Naib Ketua Wanita UMNO. She became the Secretary for Pergerakan Wanita UMNO Selangor in 1960 to 1972.
In 1963, Tan Sri Aishah was appointed as the first female senator in Malaysia, and was the first female representative from Malaysia to go to the United Nation General Assembly (Perhimpunan Agung Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu (PBB). From 1967 to 1972, she was the Malaysian representative to Persidangan Suruhanjaya Taraf Wanita PBB. She was chosen as the leader of Pergerakan Wanita UMNO Malaysia from year 1972 to 1984. In 1973, she was appointed as Minister of Public Welfare and held this position for 11 years before ending her service in 1984. She had launched the first National Welfare Fund (Yayasan Kebajikan Negara) which is still functional up to this day. Tan Sri Aishah was the Chairwoman for Pergerakan Wanita UMNO Malaysia from 1986 until now.
She is also currently the Chairwoman for Koperasi Jaya Murni Wanita Berhad since its conception in 1975, Chairwoman for Perbadanan Kemajuan Kraftangan Malaysia (1985-1997) Committee member of Yayasan Tun Abdul Razak, Chairwoman for Pusat Perlindungan Wanita Darsaadah. Aside from that she is also involved in business by becoming the Chairwoman for Electcoms Sdn. Bhd, Executive Director of Meditel Electronics Sdn. Bhd, Director of Utama Sdn. Bhd., Hasrat Emas Sdn. Bhd., Pengangkutan Kota Mas Sdn. Bhd., Tanjung Sebaneka Sdn. Bhd. and Metrojaya Bhd.
She had been honored with Johan Mangku Negara (J.M.N.) in year 1971 by Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong. In 1978, she was bestowed with Darjah Dato’ Paduka Mahkota Selangor Kelas Kedua (D.P.M.S.) by the government of Selangor, which brings the title ‘Datin Paduka’. She was also honored with bintang Panglima Mangku Negara (P.M.N.), which carried the title ‘Tan Sri’ by Sri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong in 1985.
A year later she had been given the honorific Ijazah Kehormat Kedoktoran Undang-undang by Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). In 1999, she was bequeathed with darjah Seri Paduka Mahkota Selangor Kelas Pertama (S.P.M.S.) which carries the title ‘Datin Paduka Seri’ by DYMM Sultan Selangor. Finally in year 2002, she was honored with Ijazah Kehormat Doktor Falsafah Sains Politik by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).
Source: Perpustakaan Negara Malaysia (http://sejarahmalaysia.pnm.my)