Today, New Zealand stands tall on the world stage and celebrates its role as a global leader. On this day 125 years ago, September 19, 1893, women won the right to vote in parliamentary elections. New Zealand was the first nation in the world where females won the vote, something that has long been a source of pride, but something which, nowadays, may be taken for granted.
That should never be the case. It is vital we remember the women who risked their reputations, relationships, safety and security to demand and effect change; the women who have blazed trails for others to follow in various fields long dominated by men; the women on whose determined shoulders others can now stand; the women still leading by example and breaking down barriers that remain in place.
So, today, in the Herald's special suffrage edition, we remember and celebrate these women.
We remember pioneering Kate Sheppard, the most prominent member of the suffrage movement here, and a significant influence on the cause in the UK in following years.
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We celebrate working alongside the guest editor of our special edition, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the country's third female prime minister, whose leadership seems fitting at such a significant historical milestone, and who is an inspiration for women the world over by juggling the demands of a new baby, a coalition, and a country at the same time.
In our inspirational Trailblazers series of videos and profiles in print and online this week, we celebrate other women in law and politics who have smashed the glass ceiling: the likes of Elizabeth McCombs, the first female MP; Iriaka Ratana, the first Māori female MP; our first elected prime minister Helen Clark, who went on to head the United Nations' Development Agency; Dame Catherine Tizard, Auckland's first female mayor and New Zealand's first female governor-general; and Georgina Beyer, the world's first openly transgender mayor and MP.
We remember the women in arts and literature, in science and medicine, business, education and public service, in sport and adventure, who have contributed in myriad ways to our society, culture and identity. Some are household names: the likes of children's author Margaret Mahy and Booker winner Eleanor Catton or sportswomen Lydia Ko and Dame Valerie Adams. Others may be less well known: such as palaeontologist Joan Wiffen, who discovered the first dinosaur fossils in New Zealand, or Anne Barry, who quite literally blazed a trail for women, becoming the first female firefighter in the British Commonwealth.
Please take time to browse this significant special edition and our comprehensive online content. Be inspired by the stories and achievements, be proud to be New Zealanders and world leaders. Remember to teach our children that girls can do anything, remember to acknowledge the support of good men, but remember there's still a lot to be done, too.
Women are predominantly the victims of domestic violence, the #MeToo movement shows women are far too often victims of sexual assault and harassment, and there is still a long way to go on equal representation and pay equity in many workplaces.
The fight for fairness may be ongoing, but it can surely be achieved if we stand together.