A Tribute to Womanhood
Welcome to "I Am Woman"...a tribute to all those women who had the courage and perseverance to stand up and fight for their rights. Thanks to those who came before us we enjoy a freedom unknown to women not too long ago. But, sadly, in many parts of the world, women continue to be repressed. In fact, even in this country there are women living today under the threat of violence...completely controlled by a violent spouse. Some may make it; others won't. Hopefully, one day ALL women will be free. May that day come soon.
She was born in Liverpool, England in 1847 and is considered the foremost advocate of women's suffrage in New Zealand history. Kate Sheppard was the leader of New Zealand's suffragette movement. her persistent lobbying led to a Women's Suffrage Bill being presented to Parliament, and determined agitation under her leadership, led to Women's suffrage being achieved in 1893 so that all New Zealand women, including Maori women, were the first in the world to be given the vote.
In 1894, she told an interviewer in London, 'we asked for the suffrage, not on the grounds that it would help us to advance social and moral reforms, but as an act of justice.' in 1893. Women in Australia would not gain suffrage until 1902, in the United Kingdom not until 1918 for women over 30, and in the United States, not until 1920.
Kate died at her home on 13 July 1934, and was buried in Addington cemetery with her mother, a brother and a sister. The Christchurch Times
reported her death in simple appreciation: 'A great woman has gone, whose name will remain an inspiration to the daughters of New Zealand while our history endures.'
After the battle for universal suffrage was finally won in 1893,she continued to work for women’s progress, helping to establish the National Council of Women and becoming its first president. To her belongs much of the credit for advancing the rights of New Zealand women. Kate was a source of inspiration to suffragists, both in New Zealand and throughout the world.