STOUT, Lady Anna Paterson
Feminist and social reformer.
A new biography of Stout, Anna Paterson appears in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography on this site.
Anna Paterson Stout was born on 29 September 1858 in Dunedin and was the daughter of John Logan, clerk to the Superintendent of Otago, and of Jessie, née Pollock. As both her parents were deeply interested in prohibition and other social reforms, it was little wonder that she should grow up sharing their views. On 27 December 1876, at Dunedin, she married Robert Stout. Thereafter her public interests closely paralleled her husband's and she began to take increasing part in a wide variety of women's political and social groups. She became a foundation member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union in 1885 and joined the New Zealand Alliance on its formation a year later. She lent her vigorous support to the early campaigns for women's franchise and for the political education of women. These interests led her to become a foundation member of the National Council of Women and of the Southern Cross Society. In these she campaigned strongly for equal pay for equal work and equality in the application of the laws. She constantly stressed the necessity for educating women in economic and social affairs.
Although the feminist movement claimed her first allegiance, Lady Stout was also very active in the field of women's welfare, being a founder of the Society for the Protection of Women and Children, the Plunket Society, and of the Women's National Reserve. She visited England with her husband in 1909 and remained there for three years. During this period she interested herself in the English suffragette movement and joined the International Council of Women, the London Lyceum, and the Women's Suffrage League. In the latter her forthright advocacy of women's rights soon won her the friendship of the Pankhursts and other feminist leaders and she was always a welcome speaker at their meetings.
In spite of her many political and welfareinterests, Lady Stout was very active in social and cultural bodies. She was a founder of the League of Nations Union and of the English Speaking Union and was a member of such organisations as the Society of Fine Arts and Wellington Women's Club. In addition to these she often served on numerous educational and charitable committees. Nor was her encouragement of education limited to serving on committees, for, in 1920, she gave the University of Otago £500 to establish the Anna Paterson Stout Scholarship, for women, in Economics, History, and Home Science. Six years later, to commemorate her golden wedding, she donated £50 to Victoria University of Wellington to provide a small bursary for women undergraduates.
Although, to a large extent, her career has been eclipsed by that of her husband, Lady Stout deserves to be remembered as one of New Zealand's most ardent champions of women's rights. She died at Hanmer Springs on 10 May 1931.
by Bernard John Foster, M.A., Research Officer, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington.
- Sir Robert Stout—a Biography, Dunn, W. H., Richardson, I. L. M. (1961)
- Temperance and Prohibition in New Zealand, Cocker, J., Murray, J. M. (1930).