Today is Election Day in New Zealand and on our walk to the polling booth my human mum told about Kate Sheppard (1848 - 1934) and how thankful she is for what she did. In 1893, because of Kate’s actions, New Zealand became the first country in world to let women vote in parliamentary elections.
Of course us dogs don’t get to vote despite politicians holding puppies for the camera in shameless attempts (similar to kissing babies) to get as many votes as they can. Mum pointed out I could have been easily swayed by the golden retriever puppy being held up by a politician earlier this week, so perhaps it is just as well that I can’t vote.
Back to my quick history lesson - while some women in NZ were able to vote in Local Body elections (from 1867) the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, led by Kate wanted women to have the right to vote in Parliamentary elections. After many petitions, on the 8th of September 1893 their campaign was successful and a bill was passed (20-18) allowing women (of all races) to vote!
In other countries women could not vote until:
UK and Ireland 1918
United States 1920
South Africa 1930 (White); 1968 (Coloured); 1984 (Indian); 1994 (Black)
Hong Kong 1949
Even now there are still countries where women don’t get a say in how their country is run as only male votes count. This is Kate on our $10 bank note. The flowers beside her are white camellias, which were given to members of parliament who supported the bill, and these flowers are the symbol of the NZ women’s campaign to vote.
So thank you Kate. My mum voted today and appreciates what you and the suffrage movement did allowing all women in NZ (including her ancestors) to vote in 1893 and every three years since then.
As for me, I’m having a lazy weekend. Dad is back from a week in Australia, so the pack is together again, and for now calm prevails.
Wishing all my friends a wonderful and relaxing weekend.
**For anyone who is interested in reading more see
http://www.elections.org.nz/study/education-centre/history/votes-for-women.html and http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/people/kate-sheppard and for the dates that women were allowed to vote in other countries see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women's_suffrage