It’s 117 years ago today that Lord Glasgow, the Governor-General signed the Electoral Act 1993 1893 which gave New Zealand women the vote.
Women had been enfranchised in other territories before then but New Zealand was the first self-governing nation to grant the vote to all adult women.
But women’s suffrage was no easy victory, it took years of campaigning before enough MPs were persuaded to change the law.
The time-line of women’s suffrage around the world shows just how recently women in many other countries have been permitted to vote.
If WikiAnswers is to be believed there are still a few countries, and the Vatican City, which give women only partial or no suffrage.
I wonder what they’d think if they knew fewer than half the people registered bothered to vote in the last local body elections and that’s not expected to improve this time?
If we’re free to vote we’re free to not vote. But we might value that freedom more and take voting more seriously if we considered it not just a right but a privilege.