Well! This look wasn’t featured in the post about the first half of their first day in New Zealand because somehow I just read over this event on the calendar and didn’t know it had happened until I woke up this Sunday morning! I AM FIRED. The good news is that this dress, and this event, both deserve their own post anyway.
On Sunday night in New Zealand, Harry and Meghan went to a reception with the Governor-General that marked the 125th anniversary of women being given the right to vote. Mad About Meghan has an excellent post about this — I went to a pretty feminist all girls high school and I never learned any of it; apparently New Zealand was the “first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections.” Meghan gave a speech marking this occasion, and it was great.
Here’s Meghan’s speech, in full:
We are proud to be able to join you tonight in celebrating the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in your country. The achievements of the women of New Zealand who campaigned for their right to vote, and were the first in the world to achieve it, are universally admired.
In looking forward to this very special occasion, I reflected on the importance of this achievement, but also the larger impact of what this symbolizes. Because, yes, women’s suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness.
Suffrage is not simply about the right to vote but also about what that represents: the basic and fundamental human right of being able to participate in the choices for your future and that of your community; the involvement and voice that allows you to be a part of the very world that you are a part of.
And women’s suffrage is not simply about the right to vote for women, but also about what that represents: the basic and fundamental human right of all people including those members of society who have been marginalised whether for reasons of race, gender, ethnicity or orientation to be able to participate in the choices for their future and their community.
So bravo New Zealand, for championing this right a hundred and twenty-five years ago for the women who well deserve to have an active voice and acknowledged vote and for all the people that this effort has paved the way for globally, we all deeply thank you.
In the words of your suffragette, Kate Sheppard, ‘all that separates, whether of race, class, creed or sex, is inhuman and must be overcome’.”
BRAVO. I feel like I’m that Meryl Streep gif where she’s leaping out of her chair, applauding and pointing.
Reading this, of course, made me think about the fact that we in the United States are approaching a very important election on November 6th. Every day I feel like there is a new bit of news about people being disenfranchised — the only polling place in someone’s town closing, thousands of absentee ballots being “lost,” the fact that there is a glitch in the Texas voting machines that sometimes will switch your votes around when you meant to vote straight ticket (please double-check your ballot, Texans; but honestly, everyone everywhere voting for whoever should always double-check; this is how I realized that I accidentally voted for Jill Stein in the last presidential election [I fixed it]). This is, of course, on top of the United States’ long and shameful history of attempting to prevent non-white people from exercising their right to vote and the fact that, in general, voting here is not as easy for everyone as it should be. My point being: if you are registered to vote in the United States, even if you don’t usually vote in the mid-term elections or just aren’t paying a ton of attention, please go out and cast your vote on November 6th. You still have plenty of time to figure out who will best represent you in Congress, or as your Governor, and it’s really important. Your vote quite literally does count. Thank you!