Story: Gender inequalities

Attitudes to divorce, 1887 (1st of 2)

Attitudes to divorce, 1887

Access to divorce was difficult for women, and those who were beaten or otherwise treated badly by their husbands attracted considerable public sympathy. This 1887 cartoon shows blindfolded Justice holding a divorce-extension bill and saying, ‘I demand that this unhappy woman be released from her contract. Her husband is making a hideous mockery of her life.’ A minister, representing the church, responds ‘No, my dear Madam, they are husband and wife and to part them would be unscriptural.’

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: J-065-026

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Anne Else, 'Gender inequalities - Sexuality', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/cartoon/28626/attitudes-to-divorce-1887 (accessed 20 April 2019)

Story by Anne Else, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 20 Jun 2018