The progression for women’s rights
originated during the late 19th century and transpired for two primary
concerns: “equal political rights for women and a determination to use them for
the moral reform of society” (NZHistory, 2016). The developments happened when
a large number of women confronted the narrow beliefs of the world. Wherein,
women are solely capable of domestic affairs instead of politics.
New Zealand’s suffragist was motivated
by numerous feminists and missionaries such as “American-based Women’s
Christian Temperance Union (WCTU)” (NZHistory, 2016). Kate Sheppard started the
campaign by organizing requests for Parliament to consent to women’s rights to
vote. Although Sheppard had failed in her attempts of the “suffrage bills in
Parliament in 1888, 1891 and 1892” (Christchurch City Council, 2017), she
remained persistent in the movement and continued to gain support. Sheppard’s
last appeal presented to Parliament had estimated 32,000 signatures. Therefore,
the Electoral Act 1893 was established allowing women to vote and was enforced
on the 19th September.
The significance of this event allowed
New Zealand to become the “first self-governing country in the world” (Turnbull-Library,
2012) to permit all the women to vote in parliamentary elections. Hence, this
is an important part of New Zealand’s history since our nation has legislation
to safeguard human rights and reduce discrimination against women.