Who was Kate Sheppard?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The most famous Kate Sheppard in world history was a woman who was the main leader of the fight for women’s suffrage in New Zealand.  New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the right to vote.  Women in that country won the right to vote in the elections of 1893. 

Sheppard came to the fight for women’s suffrage through the temperance movement.  In 1885, she heard an American speaker from the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and was moved to become a charter member of the New Zealand branch of that organization.  Sheppard came to believe that the issues for which the temperance movement was fighting would be more easily achieved if women had the right to vote.  This inspired her to start fighting for that right.

Kate Sheppard, then, was the leader of the suffrage movement that pushed New Zealand to become the first country to grant women the right to vote.


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