"agitate, educate and organise"

Feminism has fought no wars, it has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, it starved no enemies, practised no cruelties. It’s battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions, for safety in the streets, for childcare, for social welfare, for rape crisis centres, women’s refuges, reforms in the law. If someone says ‘I’m not a feminist’, I ask ‘Why?’
— Dale Spende - Man Made

The Maori Women's Welfare League changed the lives of many

The League, set up in 1951, was originally a government initiative. Whina Cooper was elected first president of the League which had 187 branches nationwide. Initially the League was focussed on sharing ideas around health and wellbeing in Maori families with a special focus on women and children. Over the course of it's history the League has opposed the '81 Springbok, advocated for fairer allocation of state housing, promoted the retention of Te Reo Maori, issues affecting Maori, the development of kohanga reo and business opportunities for Maori women. 

Women's groups provide a power base where women can act on the world.

Women of Aotearoa New Zealand have, throughout history, been very good at forming groups to effect change. Women's organising is often about power - if you present as a united front then you are more likely to be listened to. Women have formed groups around their profession - Teaching, Nursing, Tailoresses Union; their ethnicity, their shared interests etc. Groups and organisations have allowed women to spread ideas amongst their membership. Film makers and artists have spread ideas and messages through their artworks.


Celebrate and review the wide variety of methods and ways that New Zealand women have shared ideas.  From publishing the iconic 'What NZ Women Want' to the creation of iconic films to spreading the word on twitter. 

What NZ Women Want...in 1928

What do New Zealand women want? NCWNZ Bulletin in 1928 listed “What New Zealand Women Want”: women on juries and the Prisons Board, women police, a woman co-censor of films, a woman member of New Zealand’s delegation to the League of Nations. Concerns included the high death rate of women in childbirth and by septic abortion, equal salaries and status for male and female teachers, improved conditions in schools, and equal pay and promotion in the Civil Service.

So are we where we wanted to be in 1928 yet?


Make a playlist of films that spread big ideas

"In 1984, I was among the 8 percent of women who were behind the camera, making a feature film that saw the inside of a cinema in the world that year. Eight percent. Guess what? It's still 8 per cent. It hasn't really changed. So globally that's where it sits. So there's an issue there. We haven't got a problem with female directing in girls schools - guess why? And we haven't got a problem with female directing when people are under 18, we've actually got a problem once women are out in the world." Be inspired by remarkable NZ Women Film Makers that have told stories about New Zealand Women. Make a playlist and watch the films. We're thinking Waru, Bread and Roses, the Piano, An Angel at My Table, My Year with Helen etc 

Start your own Girl Gang

Women's groups formed to agitate for change or to be heard. The groups below had their own voices and causes that needed to be heard. But why not start your own club?  Here is a great list of influential businesswomen on twitter to start you off

women's organisations that inspired

Young Women's Christian Assoc.

maori women's welfare leage

national council of women

federated farmers (women's Division)


united women's conventions

women's refuge


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the data

Data is power. The power to tell stories. The power to understand the world. Access to data can tell you about your place in the world, how you measure up, what's available to you and what's happening to you. Take a look at how things stack up