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Address to Women's Franchise League


Extract from letter published in the North Otago Times, 5 July 1892.

'What a difference between a fish and a woman' (1892)

The extract below is from an address given by the president of the Women's Franchise League in Dunedin, Marion Hatton, to a meeting at Gore. It was published in the Dunedin paper The Globe on 9 July 1892. The transcript is from M. Lovell-Smith (ed.), The woman question: writings of women who won the vote, New Women's Press, Auckland, 1992.

Henry Smith Fish, a Member of Parliament from Dunedin, was a most vocal opponent to women's franchise. You can find a biography of him on the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography website.

If a woman said she would,
She would, you may depend on't;
But if she said she wouldn't,
Then she wouldn't, and there'd be an end on't.

And I believe there is just one matter on which Mr Fish and the women of Dunedin are quite agreed (and only one), that is, when we women of Dunedin do get the franchise, there will be an end of Mr Fish, and he knows it!

You have seen something, doubtless, by the papers of what the Dunedin women are doing. We are endeavouring to canvass every street, block, avenue, and district in the city and suburbs, so that a complete answer to the false statements made by our opponents may be sent to Parliament. You must have read of the enthusiasm of the women of Waimate, of Christchurch, of Oamaru, and Auckland, and of our grand meeting in the City Hall where we met nearly 1200 earnest men and women, the great majority of whom we believe to be in favour of our cause. We declare, from the personal expression of every canvasser we have out (every one of them women, good and true), that there is no street, neighbourhood, or district, where the matter has been properly explained, but the majority of women desiring the power to vote has been overwhelmingly large, while those who are opposed are a most insignificant minority.


 M. Lovell-Smith (ed.), The woman question: writings of women who won the vote, New Women's Press, Auckland, 1992.

How to cite this page

Address to Women's Franchise League, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated