New Zealand celebrates anniversary of women's suffrage

  • 19/09/2017
Kate Sheppard is celebrated for working to get the right to vote for women.
Kate Sheppard is celebrated for working to get the right to vote for women. Photo credit: File

Four days before the general election, New Zealanders are being encouraged to take time to reflect on a major milestone in the country's history.

It was 124 years ago on Tuesday that New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world to give women the vote.

"I hope all New Zealanders take time to reflect on that and just how far we've come", Women's Minister Paula Bennett said.

"Kate Sheppard and the other suffragists fought for years to give women this right and did this country proud."

Mrs Bennett said 45 percent of people on state sector boards and 46 percent those in senior leadership roles in the public service were women.

She said the government had introduced pay equity principles and had settled a $2 billion pay equity claim for 55,000 care and support workers, but there was more to be done.

"We have a 9.4 percent gender pay gap", she said.

"This recently reduced from 12 percent, but in 2017, we just shouldn't have one. We're working with the private sector to encourage them to measure their gender pay gap and to work to reduce it."

NZN