On this day September 19, 1893

New Zealand became the first country to introduce universal suffrage, following the women’s suffrage movement led by Kate Sheppard.

Katherine Wilson Sheppard (10 March 1847 or 1848– 13 July 1934) was the most prominent member of New Zealand’s women’s suffrage movement, and is the country’s most famous suffragette. Because New Zealand was the first country to introduce universal suffrage, Sheppard’s work had a considerable impact on women’s suffrage movements in other countries.

The Electoral Bill granting women the franchise was given Royal Assent by Governor Lord Glasgow on 19 September 1893, and women voted for the first time in the election held on 28 November 1893 (elections for the Māori seats were held on 20 December). In 1893, Elizabeth Yates also became Mayor of Onehunga, the first time such a post had been held by a female anywhere in the British Empire.

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