Kate Sheppard's Franchise Campaign

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The decision to appoint Kate Sheppard as the leader of the franchise campaign was not one taken lightly as it was such a pivotal role. The Women’s Christian Temperance Union made the decision to give Kate Sheppard the leading role in accordance with her many abilities and how they would be beneficial to the franchise campaign. During what was a significant and tumultuous time for women’s rights, the WCTU felt they needed to appoint a leader who would show them the way to success. Kate Sheppard’s leadership impacted on society and politics very heavily. In 1893 women gained the right to vote and from there they were able to have a voice and bring about change. The outcomes of the campaign are clear indicators that the right decision had been…show more content…
Without the vote, the pleas of women often fell on deaf ears so when September 1893 arrived, bringing with it suffrage for women, the government was required to listen and women were required to thank Kate Sheppard. Kate’s influence became even more widespread when she became editor of the female-run magazine the White Ribbon in 1895. Sheppard was able to claim this key position due to her well recognised and well received intelligence and strength in the female arena. As a direct consequence of Kate’s wise counsel, a National Council of Women was formed in 1896 to unite various different women’s organisations. This council worked as a support mechanism for women because as a large group, they were more likely to be taken notice of. Suffrage together with the newly formed National Council of Women acted as a spring board for reform. In 1896, an issue very close to the minds and hearts of women was addressed. Prior to 1896, the age of consent for girls was a mere 12 years and with their votes, women had this raised to 16. Two years later, another reform was passed, this one allowing women to file for divorce on the same grounds as men. In the short space of 5 years, women had not only found their feet in politics they were making changes. These changes were brought about by women’s attainment of suffrage, which it can easily be said was a consequence of the decision made by the WCTU in 1887 to appoint Kate Sheppard as leader of the franchise
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