Did you know that 126 years ago today, New Zealand made history and became the first country to grant women the right to vote?
According to New Zealand History, the Electoral Act was signed into law by then-governor, Lord Glasgow on Sept. 19, 1893. This landmark achievement was thanks to years of effort by suffrage campaigners, led by Kate Sheppard, who went on to be featured on New Zealand’s $10 bill for her contribution to the country’s history.
By comparison, women in Canada were not permitted to vote federally for another 26 years according to Canada History Project. The suffrage movement in our country began in the 1870s, but it wasn’t until 1916 that the four western provinces began allowing women to vote provincially. As of Jan. 1, 1919, all women over 21 were permitted to vote federally, but it wasn’t until 1940 that Quebec allowed women to vote provincially, the last province to adopt this legislation.
The United States followed this movement, with Congress passing the 19th amendment to the Constitution on June 4, 1919, and it was finally ratified on Aug. 26, 1920, according to Our Documents. This achievement was thanks to the many suffragettes that organized, petitioned and picketed for this right, beginning in the 1800s.
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