125 years since women first voted

  • Hon Julie Anne Genter

Today marks 125 anniversary of women in Aotearoa/New Zealand voting for the first time and celebrates the progress made for women, Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter says.

“Today we remember 28 November 125 years ago, when women went to the polling booths for the first time,” Julie Anne Genter says.

“The majority of women registered and a very high proportion voted. A total of 109,461 women registered - about 80 percent of the adult female population and 90,290 women voted – 85 percent of registered women – and far higher turnout than that of men (70 percent).

“Those women knew voting was the way to get the changes they wanted for themselves, their families and communities.

“This year’s suffrage celebrations have created significant opportunities to drive progress towards gender equality in New Zealand.

“This year we have seen New Zealand communities, from Whangarei to Stewart Island, organising events to showcase and celebrate women in their communities, to encourage more progress on issues such as the gender pay gap, and to create better futures for our next generation.

“The Suffrage 125 Community Fund has supported 42 projects across New Zealand with $300,000 funding. The Fund received over 240 applications for this funding, which shows the demand for activities which benefit women and girls in New Zealand.

“I have been strongly encouraged by the commitment to action from women and men to issues impacting on women.

“The Ministry for Women’s formal Suffrage 125 programme closes this month but the work continues.

“This day in 1893 was a turning point for women as they took power into their hands. Today I encourage all of us look to our future, and continue the momentum for social change and a fairer society for women and girls, across Government, NGOs, business and communities,” said Julie Anne Genter.