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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



Civic and National Services

The first step of major importance in the recognition of women's standing in the community came with the introduction in 1893 of women's suffrage. Since then many other legal provisions for, or implied, public acceptance of women's rights and privileges have come into force. In 1919 the Women's Parliamentary Rights Act made women eligible to stand as parliamentary candidates, but there have seldom been more than one or two elected at each parliamentary term. Among the very few who have been appointed as cabinet ministers, Dame Hilda Ross gave many years of sincere and humanitarian work. Women who have contested local body elections successfully are very much in the minority on city and borough councils and hospital boards. It is regrettable that not many women who have the necessary maturity and experience in public affairs seem willing to project themselves into politics or local body work. Possibly they have felt diffident about their capacities; possibly they would have been most enthusiastic at a time when they were prevented by household duties from offering themselves as candidates; probably there is a general apathy which will only slowly be overcome as more women gradually assume public office and stimulate others to be more aware of the potential value of such service to the community. In 1942 the Women Jurors Act allowed women between the ages of 25 and 60, if they so desired, to have their names placed on the jury list. Here again, women have shown reluctance to volunteer for a public service. The Women Jurors' Amendment Act of 1963 provides that the names of all women be included in the Jury List, with absolute right of withdrawal.

Next Part: Equal Pay