The work done by New Zealand suffragettes that brought women the vote still has some way to go before Kiwis live in an equal society.

And it is time for men to stand up and do their part, Lizzie Marvelly said at the Michael King memorial lecture last night.

Marvelly, a musician and newspaper columnist, told an audience of about 70 at the University of Otago gaining votes in 1893 was ''a low bar''.

Women today were still victimised, underpaid, and carried more of the burden of looking after their families than men.


She asked whether New Zealand was really a country leading the charge for women's rights, or if it had fallen short.

Marvelly discussed the culture of online bullying of girls and the sort of online hate she sometimes received for her writing.

''If we want true equality, we need to put the spotlight on men,'' she said.

Men needed to ''stand up or move sideways'' and accept a role in making society more equal.

Women needed to be equal in the workplace, get paid the same as men, and there needed to be more open conversations about who stayed home after childbirth to look after babies.

People also needed to change the way they raised their children, making boys and girls resilient, but also compassionate and empathetic.

''Women can't do all this on their own.

''It's time for men to step up.''


Marvelly said New Zealand had much to celebrate in terms of women's equality, but ''we can't take our eyes of the ball''.