Votes for Women

When the Governor, Lord Glasgow, signed the Electoral Act into law on 19 September 18history-Sheppard_0.jpg93, New Zealand became the first country in the world to grant women the right to vote in parliamentary elections.

As most other democracies - notably Britain and the United States - did not enfranchise women until after the First World War, women's suffrage quickly became a central element in New Zealand's image as a trail-blazing, progressive 'social laboratory' of the South Pacific.

Did you know?

Women who owned property and paid rates (mainly widows and 'spinsters') were allowed to vote in local government elections in Otago and Nelson from 1867. This right was extended to the other provinces in 1876.











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Last updated: 20 February 2013