Saturday’s smiles


Apropos of the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand,  The Huffington Post led me to this poster by poet and activist Alice Duer Miller :

LOOK: 5 Reasons Why Men Shouldn’t Vote In 1915
why men shouldnt vote

125 years of women’s suffrage


When and where did you first vote?

I turned 18 in an election year and was working as a kitchen hand in Omarama during university holidays when I cast my first vote.

I take no pride in saying I did it with little real understanding of the issues or even my own political philosophy.

I doubt if I gave any thought to the idea that voting, and voting freely, is a right not universally available in other countries either. And I knew little of the work that led to New Zealand becoming the first self-governing country in the world to grant the vote to women.

Today the 125th anniversary of that milestone is being celebrated.

. . .On 19 September 1893 the Electoral Act 1893 was passed, giving all women in New Zealand the right to vote.  As a result of this landmark legislation, New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections. . .

Artist Kate Hursthouse is marking the celebration with Our Wahine , celebrating 125 extraordinary women.

Why men shouldn’t vote


It’s the 123rd anniversary of New Zealand women gaining the right to vote.

Apropos of this, Alice Duer Miller wrote in 1915:

Why we oppose votes for men:

1: Because man’s place is in the army.

2. Because no  really manly man  wants to settle any question otherwise than by fighting about it.

3. Because if men should adopt peaceable methods women will no longer look up to the,.

4. Because men will lose their charms if they step out of the natural sphere and interest themselves in other matters than feats of arms, uniforms and drums.

5. Because men are too emotional to vote. Their conduct in baseball games and political conventions shows this, while their innate tendency to appeal to force renders them particularly unfit for the task of government.

Timeline of women’s right to vote


Today’s the anniversary of New Zealand women getting the right to vote.

This timeline from infoplease shows when each country granted that right.

  • 1893 New Zealand
  • 1902 Australia1
  • 1906 Finland
  • 1913 Norway
  • 1915 Denmark
  • 1917 Canada2
  • 1918 Austria, Germany, Poland, Russia
  • 1919 Netherlands
  • 1920 United States
  • 1921 Sweden
  • 1928 Britain, Ireland
  • 1931 Spain
  • 1934 Turkey
  • 1944 France
  • 1945 Italy
  • 1947 Argentina, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan
  • 1949 China
  • 1950 India
  • 1954 Colombia
  • 1957 Malaysia, Zimbabwe
  • 1962 Algeria
  • 1963 Iran, Morocco
  • 1964 Libya
  • 1967 Ecuador
  • 1971 Switzerland
  • 1972 Bangladesh
  • 1974 Jordan
  • 1976 Portugal
  • 1989 Namibia
  • 1990 Western Samoa
  • 1993 Kazakhstan, Moldova
  • 1994 South Africa
  • 2005 Kuwait
  • 2006 United Arab Emirates
  • 2011 Saudi Arabia3
NOTE: One country does not allow their people, male or female, to vote: Brunei.
1. Australian women, with the exception of aboriginal women, won the vote in 1902. Aborigines, male and female, did not have the right to vote until 1962.
2. Canadian women, with the exception of Canadian Indian women, won the vote in 1917. Canadian Indians, male and female, did not win the vote until 1960. Source: The New York Times, May 22, 2005.
3. Women in Saudi Arabia will not be eligible to vote until 2015.

Proud to be lowest


This is one area where we can celebrate being the lowest:
It's fantastic to see New Zealand women leading the world once again.

And while we’re celebrating that let’s celebrate National’s diversity and note 11 of the 15 are electorate MPs :
>On this day 120 years ago, New Zealand women won the right to vote – leading the world.

120th anniversary of women’s suffrage


It’s the 120th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in New Zealand.

Kate Shepphard’s part in the fight for women’s suffrage is recognised with her picture on our five ten dollar note.

But it wasn’t only the efforts of women that resulted in New Zealand being the first country in the world to grant women the vote.

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage reminds us of the men who helped in the fight:

On September 8, 1893, for the third time the women’s suffrage bill was to be voted on by the Legislative Council – New Zealand’s upper house. It looked like a third defeat was likely; however, it passed slimly with 20 votes to 18 in its favour.

Women had won the vote; 11 days later the Electoral Bill was signed and all New Zealand women were eligible to vote in that year’s upcoming election.

Women had made it happen – more than 32,000 women had signed the Women’s Franchise petitions calling for the change in legislation, and their efforts had been heard.

They had also lobbied men, and crucially, the women’s movement had several key male supporters.

Politician, Robert Stout, in 1879 had introduced the Electoral Bill which made woman ratepayers eligible to vote and to stand for Parliament. He won for women the right to vote for licensing committees, and was largely responsible for the Married Women’s Property Act 1884, which declared a married woman capable of acquiring, holding and disposing of property in her own right. Stout later worked, in close association with his wife, Anna Paterson Stout, to limit the testamentary freedom of husbands so that property could not be willed away from wives.

John Ballance supported moves to enfranchise women, a reform of which he had long been an advocate. Speaking in the House in 1890 he declared: ‘I believe in the absolute equality of the sexes, and I think they should be in the enjoyment of equal privileges in political matters.’ In his support for women’s suffrage Ballance was strongly influenced by the views of his wife. Ellen Ballance was prominent in the growing feminist movement in New Zealand and was vice president of the Women’s Progressive Society, an international organisation.

Another who took up the cause was former Premier John Hall. He was approached by the female suffrage movement and assumed parliamentary leadership of the campaign. Hall had long believed that women had a right to the vote; he was also certain that their votes would exercise a conservative influence. His final and most lasting political triumph came with the passage of the Electoral Bill in September 1893.

Within weeks of the new law being signed 109,461 women had enrolled to vote for the 28 November election that year – 84% of all eligible women. On voting day 90,290 women voted for the first time, making history and changing politics forever.

At a function in parliament last night, Minister Hekia Parata reminded us that women weren’t given the vote, they fought for it and won.

Dame Jenny Shipley, New Zealand’s first female Prime Minister, said it wasn’t enough to have the vote, women must be at the table to participate in decision making.

(Hat tip for graphic: Lindsay Mitchell,).

119 years on


Today is the 119th anniversary of the Electoral Act which gave women in New Zealand the right to vote.

On 19 September 1893 the governor, Lord Glasgow, signed a new Electoral Act into law. As a result of this landmark legislation, New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections. . .

That achievement was the result of years of effort by suffrage campaigners, led by Kate Sheppard. In 1891, 1892 and 1893 they compiled a series of massive petitions calling on Parliament to grant the vote to women. . .

An engraving of the time, entitled The Summit At Last  shows a woman carrying a flag that reads ‘Perfect Political Equality’ being helped up to the ‘Parliamentary Heights’ by a man.

A hundred and nineteen years on 32% of MPs, six of 20 Cabinet Ministers and one of four Ministers outside Cabinet are women. Two of the seven parties in parliament have female co-leaders.

Some will argue that’s not enough.

But equality isn’t measured in raw numbers. It’s not how many do what but whether those who want to are able to and under the law, thanks to those people who fought to give women the vote, in New Zealand they are.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Many women still face difficulties juggling parenting and careers that most men don’t. But that some women choose to put commitment to their families before paid work isn’t a sign of inequality.

Having the right to do something doesn’t preclude the choice to do something else.

Notice to Epicene Women






Are Requested Not To Call Here

They are recommended to go home, to look after their children, cook their husband’s dinners, empty the slops, and generally attend to the domestic affairs for which Nature designed them.

By taking this advice they will gain the respect of all right-minded people – an end not to be attained by unsexing themselves and meddling in masculine concerns of which they are profoundly ignorant.


103 Mein Street,


 This notice was used to counter the persistent demands for petition signatures prior to the signing into law of the Electoral Act granting votes to women on September 19, 1893.

Did Great grandma/pa sign the suffrage petition?


If you’ve ever wondered whether your relatives signed the petition seeking women’s suffrage, you can now check on the NZ History website.

This database is a digitised version of the main suffrage petition submitted to Parliament in 1893. . .

The ‘more’ link goes to a page where extra information can be added. Members of the public are encouraged to submit further information via community contributions or you can email us at . . .

Note that some places are under-represented on this database as women may have signed smaller regional petitions which have not survived. Read more about the petitions here. . .

We are grateful to Archives New Zealand and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs for making the original petition transcripts available to us.

The  site  has the names and addresses of about 24,000 people age 21 or older who signed the petition.

I couldn’t find any of my ancestors there but I’m not sure exactly when they arrived in New Zealand and those I know of lived in smaller centres not cities.

Hat Tip: TV3

Women’s suffrage no easy victory


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.

October 5 in history


On October 5:

1944 Suffrage was extended to women in France

1951 Irish singer Bob Geldof was born.

1953 The first documented recovery meeting of Narcotics Anonymous was held.

1961 Businessman & former All Black David Kirk was born.

1968 Police batoned civil rights demonstrators in Derry, Northern Ireland – this was considered to mark the beginning of The Troubles.

1969 The first episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus aired on BBC.

(DVD cover) – Monty Python members – left to right:
Back: Terry Gilliam, John Cleese, Graham Chapman
Front row: Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Eric Idle

Sourced from Wikipedia.

10 reasons why women should have the vote


Over at In A Strange Land Deborah has a list of 10 reasons why the women of New Zealand should have the vote.

They came from a leaflet published by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and include:

4. Because women are less accessible than men to most of the debasing influences now brought to bear upon elections, and by doubling the number of electors to be dealt with, women would make bribery and corruption less effective, as well as more difficult.

5. Because in the quietude of home women are less liable than men to be swayed by mere party feeling, and are inclined to attach great value to uprightness and rectitude of life in a candidate.

6. Because the presence of women at the polling-booth would have a refining and purifying effect.

7. Because the votes of women would add weight and power to the more settled and responsible communities.

8. Because women are endowed with a more constant solicitude for the welfare of the rising generations, thus giving them a more far-reaching concern for something beyond the present moment.

9. Because the admitted physical weakness of women disposes them to exercise more habitual caution, and to feel a deeper interest in the constant preservation of peace, law, and order, and especially in the supremacy of right over might.

How could you argue with that?

Women’s Suffrage Day


We’ve come a long way since September 19, 1993 1893 when Governor Glasgow signed the Electoral Bill  giving women the right to vote.


September 19 in history


On September 19:

1893: New Zealand became the first self-governing country to grant women the right to vote.

1911 English author William Golding was born.


1933 Scottish actor David McCallum was born.

1941 US singer Mama Cass Eilliot was born.

1948 English actor Jeremy Irons was born.

1949 English model Twiggy was born.

1970 The first Glastonbury Festival was held.

1983 Saint Kitts and Nevis gained independence.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

July 28 in history


On July 28:

1821 Jose San Martin declared Peru’s independance from Spain.

Flag Coat of arms

1866 Beatrix Potter was born.



1893 The third suffrage petition in three years was presented to the New Zealand parliament. Signed by nearly 32,000 – almost a quarter of the adult European population of the country, helped pave the way for granting votes to women a few months later.

Sourced from Wikipedia and NZ History Online.

July 19 in history


On July 19:

1553 Mary 1 takes the English throne from Lady Jane Grey.

1834 French painter Edgar Degas was born.

Self-portrait (Degas au porte-fusain), 1855

1848 The first Women’s Rights Convention opened at Seneca Falls, launching the women’s suffrage movement in the USA.

1982 the Privy Council granted New Zealand citizenship to Samoans born after 1924.

Wyomin’s Gone and Done It


This Friday’s poem had to be about women’s suffrage and I found Wyomin’s Gone and Done It here.

While we celebrate that New Zealand was the first country to give women the right to vote, in 1893, New Zealand women weren’t the first to vote. The Territory of Wyoming passed the Women’s Suffrage Act in 1869 and when Wyoming became a state in 1889 it retained the legislation.

  (State of Wyoming , 1889)
Wyomin’s gone and done it!
Why, they must be plumb insane.
There’s gotta be a reason….
maybe water on the brain.
They gave the vote to women.
They done it, God forbid.
God save our noble country
from the dastard deed they did.
They gave the vote t’ women.
They can vote just like the men.
That state’ll never prosper
or be the same again.
Them western states have always spawned
a crazy kind a’ breed.
I’ve long suspected Western folk
were smokin’ loco weed.

Wyomin’s gone and done it-
such a vile and devilish deed!
The pity is they ever taught
them females how t’ read.
Them cowboys ain’t the brightest.
Why couldn’t they at least
learn to keep their women
in their place, like men out East.

A female’s place is in the home
a’ carin’ for the men;
a’ cookin’, cleanin’, tendin’ kids.
That’s how it’s always been
Women just ain’t like us men.
They lack our common sense.
They ought t’ leave the vote to men…
it takes intelligence.
Wyomin’s gone and done it…..
passed a Suffrage Act somehow.
Them Suffragettes are all stirred up.
God help our country now!

Bette Wolf Duncan
copyright©2001 All rights reserved




Another reminder that it’s the 115th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand.

It may add something to the discussion about equality a couple of posts back 🙂

Evolution of authority


Apropos of the 115th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand:

The artist missed the gumboot – I think it should be second from the right.

Women rally against suffrage


As we approach the 115th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand, I was intrigued by this from the ODT’s column 100 years ago:

. . . our London correspondent says a largely attended meeting was held at the Westminster Palace Hotel for the purpose of inaugurating the Women’s National Anti-Suffrage League, whose object is to organise opposition on the part of women themselves to the extension of the franchise to women.

Lady Jersey was in the chair.

Mrs Humphry Ward, who was received with cheers, moved the adoption of a manifesto which it was proposed to issue to the public.

Other speakers included the Dowager Lady Ilchester, Sir Richard Temple, and Mr Ivor Guest.

The manifesto of the league, which it is understood has been written by Mrs Humphry Ward, declares that “unless those who hold that the success of the women’s movement would bring disaster on England are prepared to take immediate and effective action, judgement may go by default, and our country may drift toward a momentous revolution, both social and political, before it has realised the dangers involved.”

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