The roles for most women were to be a good mother and wife, looking after the home being a homemaker and housekeeper. Women in New Zealand had more of a range of duties to perform than that of those in England. Their main duties consisted of cooking, cleaning, washing, working, helping brothers and farmers on farms and in businesses, educating their children, minding their children, looking after the sick or old and taking care of themselves as well.
VOTES FOR WOMEN
The main issues for women at that time were around alcohol abuse, financial troubles, not being able to have a say in how their country was run and the hard day-to-day life they had. Alcohol abuse was considered one of the greatest evils at that time as it hurt families, mentally and physically. Their fathers and brothers would come home drunk and then abuse the women and children afterwards because they weren't able to think straight. This also led to financial troubles because the family had to pay for all the drink and it caused the men to not work as hard.
The Suffrage Movement
The Women's CHristian Temperance Union (WCTU) originated in England and the US. It was aimed at banning alcohol and that it was a sorce of corruption, and the making and distubuting of it was very wrong. It spread rapidly around the US and the leaders wanted it to be spread around the world. They sent representatives with the message. In New Zealand the WCTU was extremly active and grew to about 600 in ten yers. The Union's task was trying to influence the goverment in realtion to alchohol laws. Women realised that in order to get the changes they wanted they needed to be able to vote for their represntatives in parliment. This was the start of the movemnt in New Zealand led by Kate SHeppard for womrn to get the vote.
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Kate Sheppard was one of the leaders for the WCTU and was the main person who petitioned for the women's vote. She eventually got it for women after many years of trying and trying. Sheppard was originally from the UK and came to New Zealand with her family when she was young. In New Zealand, she married and had children, but felt she had to give back to her community as she witnessed alcohol abuse ruin families. She first got involved with the WCTU as a result of seeing what was happening and they quickly promoted her as she was upbeat, worked tirelessly and a good debater as well as a great choice for a leader. She quickly got involved with the politics of the group as they realised that they had to get the vote to sctop alcohol abuse. She was a great leader of the suffragets.
The suffrage movement soon started in New Zealand. Many women wanted to be able to vote for wha they thought was right, instead of just having to follow the law and have no say in how it was made. In New Zealand we were very lucky our politicians and people were more open-minded and not as sexist as other countries such as the UK or USA. In these countries it took many years to get the vote and in these years they had to resort to violent methods and violence to get this. New Zealand never resorted to any kind of violence and always used peaceful methods such as petitons, meetings and protesting. Kate SHeppard collected thousands of signatures on her petition, presenting five to parliment before finally succeding.
After many years of fighting for the vote, petioning, protesting and fighting for the vote, it was granted in 1893 and women were allowed to vote. Kate Sheppard presented her petition with hndreds of thousands of signatures on it to parliment and they granted women the vote. MP's who voted in favour of her petition were given white camillia's as a thank -you, while the MP's who voted against the act were given red camillias. Kate Sheppard has done so much for New Zealand and fought long and hard for the women's vote. We need to forever remeber her and cherish her memory and spirit.