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Women urged to exercise right to vote

17 September 2004 Media Statement

Women urged to exercise right to vote

Women’s Affairs Minister Ruth Dyson is encouraging New Zealand women to celebrate the 111th anniversary of women’s suffrage on 19 September by exercising their right to vote in the upcoming local body and district health board elections.

“Women have enormous practical experience of local health issues and wider community concerns. By exercising their right to vote in the 9 October elections, they can have a say in the development of their local communities and the provision of health services in their region.”

Ruth Dyson said New Zealand had made history by being the first nation to introduce universal adult suffrage in 1893.

“The suffragettes campaigned for the chance to influence society and ensure that future generations could have their say about the big issues affecting both the country and their lives.

“Two months after women won the right to vote, 85 per cent of New Zealand women were enrolled to do so, and 65 per cent actually voted in the 1893 general election.

“Today, voting is a right that many women in New Zealand take for granted. However, research shows that women remain less politically engaged than men. Let’s change that in the upcoming elections, and ensure that the voice of all our citizens is heard.”

ENDS

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