Katherine Wilson Sheppard (10 March 1847 – 13 July 1934), born Catherine Wilson Malcolm, was a social activist in New Zealand. Her efforts helped make New Zealand the first country to give women the right to vote.
- Is it right that your mother, your sister... should be classed with criminals and lunatics... ? Is it right that while the gambler, the drunkard, and even the wife-beater has a vote, earnest, educated and refined women are denied it?... Is it right... that a mother... should be thought unworthy of a vote that is freely given to the blasphemer, the liar, the seducer,and the profligate?
- Is it right? (1892)
- The news is being flashed far and wide, and before our earth has revolved on her axis every civilized community within the reach of the electric wires will have received the tidings that civic freedom has been granted to the women of New Zealand. … It does not seem a great thing to be thankful for, that the gentlemen who confirm the laws which render women liable to taxation and penal servitude have declared us to be "persons"… We are glad and proud to think that even in so conservative a body as the Legislative Council there is a majority of men who are guided by the principles of reason and justice, who desire to see their womenkind treated as reasonable beings, and who have triumphed over prejudice, narrow-mindedness and selfishness.
- Statement after the New Zealand legislature gave women the right to vote (September 1893)
- In Wellington is every year assembled a National Council of men, which holds a session lasting several months... From that Council women are excluded. … Under these circumstances a National Council which largely represents the thinking and working women of the colony (and which, it may be remarked, costs the country nothing) becomes a necessity. I trust the day is not far distant … when the necessity for men's councils and women's councils, as such, will be swept away.
- Address in Christchurch, at the second annual conference of the National Council of Women of New Zealand (1897)
- All that separates, whether of race, class, creed, or sex, is inhuman, and must be overcome.
- As quoted in Women, Politics, And Power : A Global Perspective (2007) by Melanie M. Hughes, p. 47
- We are tired of having a 'sphere' doled out to us, and of being told that anything outside that sphere is 'unwomanly'. We want to be natural just for a change … we must be ourselves at all risks.
- As quoted in her profile at The New Zealand Edge