Story: Women’s movement

Polly Plum speaks out

Polly Plum speaks out

Polly Plum was the pen name of Mary Colclough, a feminist activist in the late 1860s and 1870s. Radical in her ideas and actions, she supported women’s rights, arguing that girls needed to be educated so they could support themselves if necessary. Married women should have independent legal status, be able to control their own property, and have guardianship of their children. Women should have the vote. Rather than simply discussing these matters with friends, Colclough went public, writing letters to newspapers and even appearing on stage. Her public lectures on these topics, in Auckland, Hamilton, Thames and Ngāruawāhia, were well attended and caused great controversy. This excerpt from the Otago Witness reports on her lecture in Auckland in July 1871.

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National Library of New Zealand, Papers Past
Reference: Otago Witness, 22 July 1871, p. 17

Permission of the 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:

Megan Cook, 'Women’s movement - The 19th-century women’s movement', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/document/27884/polly-plum-speaks-out (accessed 23 May 2019)

Story by Megan Cook, published 5 May 2011