Saturday, November 21, 2009

This week in New Zealand history: women vote

On the 28th November 1893, New Zealand women voted in their first General Election, having gained the right to do so when an Electoral Bill was passed two months earlier. Concerns had been expressed by opponents of the Bill, no doubt with varying degrees of sincerity, that women voters might be jostled by unruly fellows when exercising their new right, but the day went smoothly, with no unpleasant incidents, and (despite opponents' claims that few women were interested in voting) a large turnout.

More details of the campaign for women's suffrage can be found on the Women and the Law page of my website. And a fictionalised account of that first voting day is included in Chapter 31 of Mud and Gold.

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