Women's Suffrage in New Zealand

By Patricia Grimshaw | Go to book overview

6
The Movement in Full Swing

I niver cared for polyticks,
I nurse me childher three--
But one fine day a come-at-tay
Of ladies read a pome
On Woman's Rights, an from that night
My Barney stays at home

About debates an sich like prates,
I do not care two sthraws,
But I've been tould me jewtey is
To go an make the laws . . . .

"'Mrs Mulrooney'" in The Triumph of Women's Rights. Thomas Bracken, Auckland, 1891

IN 1891 the new Parliament assembled and the Liberals under John Ballance began their twenty-year reign. The suffrage movement within the W.C.T.U. embarked on a renewed effort to achieve women's suffrage. By this year the society's members were fully awakened to suffrage activity. It now sought to strengthen its ranks by drawing into organized activity all those sympathisers outside their association. It sought to reach and influence every possible section of the community and every possible institution, and succeeded in bringing under one leadership all who would work in its cause. As a result, the suffrage movement in the years 1891 and 1892 reached a peak of activity that had scarcely been known in a pressure group in New Zealand before.

In August 1890 Mrs W. P. Reeves had written to Sir John Hall: 'As far as women's not wanting the franchise goes. [sic] I can only say that most of the women I come into contact with are intensely anxious for it and others only require to know that it is possible for them to get it to be quite as anxious in their turn'. 1 The Union saw that they must attempt to reach especially those women who desired the suffrage but had not yet acted in any way. In those years, therefore, it sought to

-46-

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Women's Suffrage in New Zealand
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Preface to the 1987 Edition vi
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Introduction xi
  • I- The New Woman 1
  • 2- Early Parliaments and Women's Rights 12
  • 3- Women and the Temperance Movement 21
  • 4- The Women's Christian Temperance Union 27
  • 5- The Suffrage Movement Gathers Way 36
  • 6- The Movement in Full Swing 46
  • 7- The Politicians' Dilemma 60
  • 8- The Debate on Women's Suffrage 74
  • 9- Success 86
  • 10- The First Election 96
  • II- Liberals, Teetotallers, or Feminists? 108
  • 12- Post Mortem on the Suffrage 119
  • Afterword (1987) 123
  • References 127
  • Bibliography 143
  • Index 150
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