New Zealand Women’s Suffrage 1893

New Zealand Women’s Suffrage 1893

New Zealand Women’s Suffrage 1893
The inaugural meeting of the National Council of Women in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1896.
New Zealand Women’s Suffrage 1893

Mary Ann Müller (c. 1820–1901), Kate Sheppard (1847–1934),

David Boyle, 7th Earl of Glasgow (1833–1915)

Mary Ann Müller of Nelson, New Zealand, produced and distributed booklets campaigning for women’s rights under the alias Femmina in 1869. Sixteen years later, in 1885, the United States’ Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) established fifteen branches in New Zealand, continuing Müller’s effort.

Kate Sheppard of Christchurch was named national franchise superintendent and leader of the women-focused national organization two years later. Sheppard gathered a lot of support and publicity for the group by enlisting the help of well-known people from all around the country.

On September 19, 1893, David Boyle, 7th Earl of Glasgow signed the Electoral Bill, making New Zealand the first self-governing nation in the world to provide women the right to vote. Years of gatherings in towns and cities around the country resulted in the Bill, with women traveling long distances to hear lectures and speeches, pass resolutions, and sign petitions. From the early 1880s through 1893, a number of petitions were presented to both Houses of Parliament.

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