This year we are taking Women’s Suffrage Day to the Twittersphere to hear what you think about how Kiwi women are faring 119 years after we won the right to vote.
I feel sure that Kate Sheppard, the woman who led the charge and graces our $10 note, would have some opinions to express if she were alive today.
But sadly, she’s not! So we want to hear from you, by posting your comments below or on Twitter from 8am tomorrow morning, 19 September 2012, using the hashtag #wwkst – What would Kate Sheppard think?
Kate Sheppard fought for New Zealand women’s political and economic independence and thanks to her more than five generations of women have now been able to influence decision-making through their vote.
There are things that we have achieved that I think would make her smile, like Marriage property laws, Equal Pay laws, the election of the first woman, Elizabeth McCoombs to Parliament and many more including Mabel Howard as the first female cabinet minister, and our female Prime Ministers Jenny Shipley and Helen Clark.
But there are some things that I think would make her frown. What would she think about female accountants being paid 30% less on average than their male counterparts in 2012? Or about the National Council of Women, which she founded, supporting the removal of working women’s rights in the first 90 days of employment? What would she think about the fact just 6% of private company boards having female directors; or that just 32.5% of our House of Representatives are female, when women make up 51% of the population?
I think she’d say there’s work to be done.
And there are some things she would be down-right angry about. Like our rates of domestic violence, or the fact that 270,000 Kiwi kids live in poverty, or that in 2011 voter turnout was the lowest since the 1880s at just 65%.
I think she would expect more from this government and more from its Minister of Women’s Affairs. What do you think?