September 19, 2018
Today in history: 19 September 1893: Womens’ Sufferage enacted in New Zealand. What a disaster it has been!
“It is women who keep the doors of society closed,” who traditionally wield all the cards of social capital, child raising, reproduction, and household consumption. Back in the 1890s it was Kate Sheppard who led the way to The State disenfranchising men by also handing women the vote to top it all off.
As someone was asking, here are some recent notes I made about the life of Kate Sheppard. I’d wanted to see ‘Votes for Women’ (2012) so when I saw the DVD sitting on the shelf at Auckland Central Library I took the opportunity but that led to a bit of digging…
Women’s suffrage was never considered in the parliament on the basis of rights or morals, only for whose faction it would advantage. It was a turf war for political advantage that even the Premier himself was on the other side of. Of course, ever since, State Muggles have been self-congratulating about how progressive and fair minded we all are for our progressive ways and patting ourselves on the back for being champions of equality! Utter nonsense.
Leading up to the event the whole colony, and Christchurch in particular, suffered a great scarcity of house-servants (ie women.) New Zealand was man’s country to pioneer but added to that the Gold Rush brought tens of thousands of boys and men here in the 1860s. Soon the women drought had become dire. The scarce females commanded a very high wage and were hard to keep in their jobs because guys kept marrying them! This led to high wages for women and an insolence and independence never tolerated back home in England; Perhaps unprecedented in world history?
Kate Sheppard (22) and her siblings immigrated with their mother to Christchurch in 1869 directly into the eye of this perfect storm of estrogen. The stage was set, the rest is history.
Kate herself cuckolded her husband, becoming the mistress (or was he hers?) of a married man and getting up to her neck in politics. Kate had one son only, Douglas, who died young in 1910 soon after being married. His father, Mr Sheppard, died in 1915. Both were in England, perhaps trying to get away from the Feminist monster.
But Douglas had one daughter, Margaret Isobel, who I think was much under the wing of grandma Kate. Perhaps too much, as she seems to have been too busy being Kate’s dogsbody to have a love life of her own…
When Grandma Kate died in July 1930, Isobel was soon to follow (September). In my opinion she was fused, her life forced to revolve around a narcissistic feminist matriarch, and unable to go on without her mistress. Isobel died (21yo) in a house in Epsom, Auckland, which still appears to be standing. As recently as March this year I noticed it was open “all welcome” to those interested in the hobby of embroidery. I suppose the lady who lives in the house now knows of the famous people who once passed though and are now extinct.
Image ref. Sara Wiseman as Kate Sheppard; NZ on Screen