Saturday’s smiles

September 22, 2018

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

September 19, 2018

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

September 19, 2016

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

September 19, 2015

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

September 19, 2013

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

September 19, 2013

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

September 19, 2012

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.

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