Female MPs in New Zealand have recreated a famous photograph from a 1905, all-male government to celebrate 125 years of women having the vote.
They posted the old photograph that featured no women next to a new version, picturing 39 of the country’s 46 women MPs. The black-and-white image had been taken in the parliamentary library 113 years ago and is in stark contrast to today’s diverse group of parliamentarians – even including one baby girl. Prime minister Jacinda Ardern sat at the centre, cradling her daughter Neve Te Aroha.
Green MP Golriz Ghahraman, the country’s first refugee MP, tweeted: “What a difference 113 years makes!”
Suffrage Day commemorated 125 years since New Zealand women won the right to vote in parliamentary elections. Women were first allowed to stand for election in 1919 and the first female MP was elected in 1933.
More than 90,000 New Zealand women went to the polls on 28 November 1893 and, despite concerns about harassment and violence, the atmosphere was relaxed and, in some places, festive.
In the 2017 general election, 46 women were elected to New Zealand parliament, increasing the proportion of female MPs to 38%, just shy of the prime minister’s goal of a 50/50 split. It is the record number of women since they became eligible to stand, breaking the previous record of 41 female MPs in 2008. The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand has the highest percentage, with an impressive 75% of its members being women.
What a difference 113 years makes!
As part of the anniversary, Ms Ardern, who is the country’s third female PM, was also a guest editor of The New Zealand Herald.
She posted on Instagram: “There aren’t too many places in the world that have had three female Prime Ministers, so we came together. This photo is a tribute to women, but also to New Zealand who put us there.”
Politician Nikki Kaye also took to social media for the occasion, by posting a selfie on Twitter, commenting: “125 years since NZ women secured the right to vote we acknowledge the suffragettes for their courage and fight to deliver this. Still so much more to do.