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Transcript of 1847
The Childhood of Catherine Wilson Malcolm
Kate Sheppard was born in Liverpool, England on the 10th of March 1847. Then, her name was Catherine Wilson Malcolm. She preferred to spell her name with a K instead of a C and preferred to be called Kate. She was praised for her intellect and broad knowledge and had a good education and learned a lot of things.
As she was the daughter of Scottish parents, they later moved to Scotland, where she was raised and educated. In 1869, a few years after her fathers death, her two brothers and one sister, and Kate, followed her mother to Christchurch, New Zealand. There she married a man named Walter Allen Sheppard a few years later.
Starting A Family
A few years after moving to Christchurch, Kate met and fell in love with, a shopkeeper named Walter Allen Sheppard, and she eventually got married to him. The couple went on with life to have a child in 1880, named Doug, their only child.
Involvement with the New Zealand's Christian Women's Temperance Movement
After the birth of her only child Doug, Katherine immersed herself in the New Zealand's Christian Women's Temperance Movement and in 1885, co-founded the New Zealand Women's Christian Temperance Union. For Sheppard, the work with the organization immediately made her realize the need for women to vote . A few years after co-founding the WCTU, Sheppard was named leader of its suffrage campaign.
Pouring Her Heart And Soul
Over the next several years, Kate threw her heart and soul into the campaign, addressing many issues, from the advantages of birth control and the right to divorce, to the guardianship of children. Additionally, Sheppard promoted the benefits of bicycling and other physical activity for women. With the support of her husband Walter, she spent tireless hours churning out speeches, pamphlets and petitions.
Securing Women's Rights To Vote
While a number of Catherine's petitions failed , she returned to Parliament with what she described as "a monster petition" as it had contained over 30,000 signatures. Eventually Governor Glasgow (Sir David Boyle) signed the bill, making New Zealand the first country in the world to grant women the right to vote.
Her Later Years
The successful petition however was not the end of her career at all. In 1896, she co-founded the National Council of Women, and was elected its first president. As head of the organization, Sheppard fought for equality in marriage and the right for women to run for Parliament seats. Poor health caused Kate Sheppard to resign from NCW in 1903 and her husband Walter died seven years later along with her son Douglas who died five years later. She eventually married her friend William Sidney Lovell-Smith but unfortunately he passed in 1929 as well. She eventually died on the 13th of July, 1934.
A history of one of the most prominent members of the Women's Rights Movement