Organisations concerned with girls, women and education

This essay written by Ruth Fry was first published in Women together: a history of women's organisations in New Zealand in 1993. It was updated by Kay Morris Matthews in 2018.

From the time a national education system was established, in 1877, New Zealand's formal education system developed according to accepted notions of the differentiated roles men and women would play in adult life. Women's organisations had only a small part to play in making decisions in the formative years of general education; the absence of women's views did not at the time provoke them to action. Most people saw primary education for both girls and boys as the government's responsibility; secondary education was a luxury for which parents were generally expected to pay.

This privilege was initially offered to boys more readily than to girls. The acceptance that secondary education could benefit all came only slowly. Legislation introduced in 1903 provided for free places at secondary school for all who passed the Proficiency examination, but those eligible did not always take up their places. The reasons varied: their help was needed at home, it was still a financial burden, or their parents were not convinced of the value of more years at school.

Along with the movement toward free secondary education for all and easier access to tertiary studies came the desire to ensure that girls did not miss out, although many did. Informal groups and community organisations sought to fill the gap, enabling women to widen their educational horizons. Proficiency was abolished in 1936, and it gradually became the common practice to go on to secondary school. Various influences then combined to maintain so-called 'girls' subjects' and keep down the number of girls taking what were perceived as 'boys' subjects', thus channelling girls toward a limited range of occupations. Some women publicly opposed this form of discrimination.

Meanwhile, women teachers responded as early as 1901 (when the Women Teachers' Association was formed) to the need to band together in the first phase of the struggle toward professional equality – an uneven process, submerged from the 1930s to the 1960s, but surfacing again with renewed vigour as part of the resurgence of feminism in the 1970s. Some of the groups formed at this time, though primarily concerned with education, included members other than teachers. Along with women teachers' professional advancement the groups tackled matters directly related to the curriculum, such as how girls fared in science and mathematics, and successfully drew attention to the covert but nonetheless powerful (and frequently derogatory) messages about girls and women being conveyed at school – the 'hidden curriculum'. A completely new focus emerged as women began to work together, and sometimes with men, exploring basic gender issues which cut across every aspect of education. Of special significance were those groups which worked to gain acceptance for women's studies and to promote research into gender and education. For a time at least, organised women succeeded in getting the need for action onto the agenda of the government and the educational establishment.

Women students and staff at Dunedin Teachers' Training College, c. 1886

Hocken Collections, M.R. Frost photographer, Box-137-006.

Women students and staff at Dunedin Teachers’ Training College, c. 1886. Few professions were open to women in the late nineteenth century aside from teaching and nursing, reflecting the primacy of women’s ‘nurturing role’.

Into this broad framework fit the topics dealt with by the entries in this section. They show how women formed groups to further the education of adolescent and adult members of their sex, first in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and then, following a fairly dormant period, in the second half of the twentieth century. The emphasis is on the progress made, rather than the counter-movements which aimed to restrict women's options.

Teaching was the only profession which nineteenth-century women entered in large numbers. The care of younger children, at home or at school, was considered a female task; hence there were more female than male teachers in the state system from the start. However, men heavily outnumbered women in senior positions where they might influence policy. The Department of Education from its formation in 1877, the education boards to which primary teachers were responsible until 1989, and the secondary school boards of governors, all remained predominantly male.

In retrospect, it is not difficult to identify situations where women seemed to have opportunities but did not grasp them. More difficult to explain are the social forces which held them back. From 1877 the New Zealand system had a provision, which other countries considered advanced, for parent participation on school committees. Women were eligible, but seldom took up this early opportunity to participate in public affairs. Those who did were likely to be challenged. Marianne Tasker, the radical activist who formed the Women's Democratic Union in the 1890s, succeeded in 1895 in being elected to the Mount Cook school committee in Wellington, but had to withstand a legal challenge on the grounds that she was not a householder. [1] This situation was slow to change. In 1912 the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) called for women to stand for school committees in order to popularise 'the sentiment of public duty among women', but the response was minimal. [2] In 1878 Harriet Herbert of Hawke’s Bay had become the first woman in the country to hold a seat on a district education board; [3] Mary Richmond was the first woman to be appointed to a secondary school board, serving on the Wellington Girls' College board of governors from 1906 to 1916. [4] These otherwise all-male bodies sometimes found it useful to have a solitary female voice. On the less influential committees dealing with catering and hospitality, women were always welcome to exercise their domestic skills. By the early 1990s it seemed surprising that, for so long, women remained slotted into positions of such limited influence over the education of their daughters.

Yaldhurst school committee

Canterbury Museum, 1986.186.1

Yaldhurst School Committee, c. 1904. Women-only school committees were an exception; according to a 1906 White Ribbon editorial by Lucy Smith, Yaldhurst had the only all-female school committee in Canterbury.

While the initial development of primary education was left to male administrators, the first successful campaign for a public secondary school for girls was organised by Dunedin women. Education was highly prized by settlers from Scotland, where the crusade for secondary education for girls was already afoot. Here, it required a woman of determination and influence to come forward, gather around her a team of like-minded women with time to spare, and set about influencing powerful men.

Learmonth Whyte Dalrymple drew energy for the Dunedin campaign from her own frustration at the limited formal education considered adequate for girls when she was growing up in Scotland. Having migrated to New Zealand in 1853 in her mid-twenties, she was aware of the pioneering work being done in Britain in establishing girls' schools, and corresponded with its two famous leaders, Frances Mary Buss and Dorothea Beale. It was Buss's vision of a liberal education offering opportunities for the daughters of middle-income families that Dalrymple and her supporters adopted. They wanted Dunedin to have what the North London Collegiate School, opened by Buss in 1850, claimed later to have achieved: 'an effective educational ladder from the elementary schools to institutions of higher learning' [5]. So it followed naturally that the second leg of Dalrymple's campaign was for the full inclusion of women at university.

Like so many other examples of women mounting a campaign, Dalrymple apparently chose her co-workers either for their personal influence or for their access to networks. The group which supported her letter to the Education Committee in 1869, requesting a school for the higher education of the girls of Otago, was led by Mary Ann Cargill, widow of the first superintendent of Otago; the signatories included such respected citizens as the wives of leading Protestant ministers. In 1871, her petition for the entry of women to the new university was signed within one week by 149 women, led by Selina Chapman, wife of the city's chief judge, and including 10 women teachers.

Their efforts were effective, though other forces were also at work; Otago Girls' High School opened in 1871, the first girls' secondary school set up under the still provincially controlled public education system. The University of Otago opened the same year with no official barrier to admitting women; however, the campaigners helped to quell some quirky opposition to awarding women degrees and allowing them entry to the professions.

A small number of Māori denominational boarding schools had already been established. The first Anglican Māori girls’ school was Queen Victoria in Parnell, Auckland, set up in 1844. The Catholic Church established St Anne’s in Ponsonby, Auckland, in 1855. Churches wanted to remove intellectually able young Māori from their homes and place them in a European environment. ‘It was hoped that with the teaching of new ideas, worshipping God, and practising Pākehā ways, the kainga would be more quickly transformed, paving the way for assimilation of Māori into Pākehā society.’ [6]

Staff of Nelson College for Girls, c.1888

Nelson Provincial Museum, Tyree Studio Collection: 361192.

Staff of Nelson College for Girls, c. 1888. Kate Edger, the first woman graduate in New Zealand, is second from right. The exclusively female world of girls’ schools allowed women to develop strong professional and friendship ties.

Women's access to secondary and tertiary education elsewhere probably did not owe as much to organised groups of women, though there were several active individual campaigners, such as Frances Shayle George and Sophia Stothard in Auckland, and effective advocates, such as Jane Maria Atkinson and her sister-in-law Emily in Nelson. The opposition to educating women for a life beyond the domestic sphere was strong, and the campaign for wider opportunities needed its vocal supporters. Some chose to make their views heard through organisations formed for other purposes. The women's suffrage campaign provided a sympathetic platform, and Kate Sheppard, Amey Daldy, Anna Stout and others voiced their feminist views on education through the WCTU and NCW. The YWCA always had high educational aims, and continued to draw on the energies of organised women from its inception in Dunedin in 1885.

In Christchurch, Eveline Cunnington, with a lifelong appreciation of her own advanced education at Queen's College in London, saw a great opportunity for educated women to influence men, particularly by exercising their vote intelligently. As a Fabian and a Christian Socialist, she believed that all citizens could contribute to the betterment of the human race. In 1908 she set up the Girls' Social Science Club, one of its aims being 'To impress on women the absolute necessity of equipment for this work, by studying the science of social subjects'. [7] Her work led to the formation of the New Zealand Workers' Educational Association (WEA) in 1914. Following the vogue for mutual improvement societies, particularly strong in the late nineteenth century, these and other organisations (as well as a number of independent women's groups) ran language classes, book discussions, instruction in arts and crafts, music, drama, debates and other cultural activities.

Early organisations of women teachers were more concerned with pay and conditions of service than with educational issues. Christina Henderson (BA 1891), a teacher at Christchurch Girls’ High School and first President of the first Women Teachers’ Association (WTA), formed in North Canterbury in 1901, advocated for equal pay for women teachers. She said, ‘it is quite true that a woman manages to live on less than a man because her wants are fewer, but it is equally true that her wants are fewer because her earnings are less’. [8]

Girls in a science class at Nelson College for Girls, 1920s

Nelson Provincial Museum, F N Jones Collection: 323395

Girls in a science class at Nelson College for Girls, 1920s. For many years after 1917, when a course of domestic training became compulsory for girls, few girls’ schools offered full science and mathematics.

Sometimes women teachers met to learn new methods of teaching ‘girls' subjects’. Members of the North Canterbury WTA, for instance, held a series of refresher courses in 1902 on the teaching of sewing. However, some female teachers saw disadvantages for girls in having a curriculum which differed from that offered to boys. In 1917, Nellie Coad of the Wellington WTA objected to the new regulation that home science should be taught to girls in all secondary schools; she advocated a general education that would be the same for girls as for boys, preparing them for as wide a range of professional occupations. Other organisations to object included the Association of Headmistresses of Non-Departmental Schools. This isolated group of professional women felt the need to band together for mutual support, as well as to maintain the educational standards of their schools. They were not always in agreement with government methods; in the 1920s they developed a short-lived in-service training scheme for their own teachers.

Girls' schools provided communities of female togetherness and support. This was particularly true of boarding schools, which in some cases offered a sheltered environment that both staff and students found difficult to leave. Something of the same atmosphere prevailed in girls' hostels and university halls of residence, though these were less restricted by regimentation and discipline. It was not until mixed boarding and flatting began to be accepted in the late 1960s that there was any official move to break down the segregated atmosphere of such female institutions.

Some school-leavers maintained links with one another through ex-students' associations. The practice appears to have been stronger in single-sex schools, and to have served a social rather than an educational purpose. The schools themselves found such organisations useful for bolstering traditions and raising funds, especially for new buildings. On occasion, principals used gatherings of ex-students for patriotic rhetoric or moralising, according to the fashion of the times. Blanche Butler, brought from England to be principal of Auckland Girls' Grammar School in 1910, made an impassioned plea to the Old Girls in 1911:

Will you not all come back and help us, through the Association, to keep the Grammar School Lion and the blue and gold triumphantly flying in the forefront of the march of progress, and the van of the battle for all that is good and noble. [9]

At Otago Girls' High School in the same period, the principal saw the Ex-Girls' Association as providing a strong esprit de corps, as well as giving valued support to the school. Some associations started special-interest clubs which thrived for a time. The Old Girls' Association started in 1900 at Nelson College for Girls by principal Beatrice Gibson included a Reading Club and the Excelsior Walking Club; Queen Margaret College in Wellington, starting its association in 1920, had at various times clubs for literature, drama, cycling, drill, basketball, sewing and knitting, and working for the needy.

Māori denominational girls’ schools also established Old Girls’ Associations for the purposes of networking, student recruitment and fund-raising: Hukarere, Napier, by 1939, St Joseph’s, Greenmeadows, in 1945; and Queen Victoria, Auckland, by 1953. [10]

The first co-educational secondary schools were set up even before the Education Act of 1877. Mainly in smaller towns, they accommodated girls and boys together for reasons of economy and convenience. District high schools, which from 1877 provided secondary education under the wing of the local primary school, were always co-educational.

Some provincial towns replaced their mixed secondary schools with two single-sex schools as the population grew. However, the liberal–democratic ideals which strongly influenced educational development from the 1930s did not favour segregating the sexes. Increasingly, new high schools were built for boys and girls together. In the period of greatest growth, between 1954 and 1968, only six of the 76 new high schools built were single-sex, four of them for girls. The 1960 departmental report to the Currie Commission stated official policy: 'the Department of Education is bound to resist any pressure to establish single-sex schools unless very strong reasons … can be advanced'. [11]

All the principals and most of the senior staff in the new co-educational schools were men. The women principals of girls' schools, though they might well have favoured co-education, were aware of the growing inequalities, but lacked a platform for their views. The equivocal position of female educators became sharply evident in the 1950s in Christchurch, where the local headmasters' association did not admit women. The women principals formed their own informal association; they included the senior mistresses in co-educational high schools, who were beginning to realise that they had little chance of further promotion. Though this organisation had no official voice, it showed how women consistently chose, independently, to form groups to share their concerns, thus keeping alive an undercurrent of militancy which prepared them to join forces with the resurgent women's movement.

Just as feminists at the end of the nineteenth century took up the cause of women's education, so concerned women in the second half of the twentieth century became aware of gaps and inequalities, and were stirred to action. This time they drew attention not just to what women had missed out on learning, but to the whole question of what it meant to be female in a sexist society. Women themselves, and what was taught about women, became their subject. In the 1960s and 1970s the Society for Research on Women and the Women's Studies Association, along with other women's liberation groups and some community education schemes, began to give women the opportunity and encouragement to examine their own history and their present condition in New Zealand society, including the education system.

Key professional women, involved in research, employed by the Department of Education, or active in teacher organisations, brought pressure on the government to take notice of gender issues. Whether they worked individually or collectively, consultation was vital if they were to influence the male hierarchy. When a major conference on Women and Education was convened by the department and the Committee on Women in International Women's Year (1975), it included representatives of voluntary groups offering courses on sexism and the position of women. Among them were the Masterton Community Action Programme, the Māori Women's Welfare League, the Women's Division Federated Farmers, the New Zealand Toastmistresses' Association, and the National Marriage Guidance Council. In 1979 the organising committee, which had continued to meet, became a formally constituted advisory body, the National Advisory Committee on Women and Education (NACWE).

Over the next few years, mostly informal groups such as Waikato Women in Education and Feminist Teachers rapidly proliferated. In the South Island, the Regional Women's Decade Committee started the Equal Opportunity Education Committee (EOEC) in 1981 in Christchurch. Among its early activities was a joint workshop with the Marriage Guidance Council and the Vocational Guidance Centre on child-rearing, partnership in marriage, and subject and career choices. It published a series of pamphlets to counter gender stereotyping, and commissioned The slowly opening door, a resource for fourth formers on women and social change. By 1987, when this book appeared, the Women's Decade had come to an end, but the EOEC decided to continue. For two years, members organised awards for intermediate-level boys in clothing and for girls in woodwork and metalwork; in 1990, they developed a kitset, Girls on the go, to promote intermediate girls' participation in exercise and sport. They continued to issue updated pamphlets into the 1990s, including Sharing the caring (1991).

Meanwhile, women in the community whose feminist consciousness had been raised, particularly those emerging from second-chance courses at schools, universities and polytechnics, joined with professional educators to form a variety of groups with a focus on education, in order to continue their study and activism. In Christchurch, they formed an offshoot of an American sorority organisation, Women in Education, as well as a more militant sub-group of the PPTA, Teaching Women, and a new, strongly feminist Women Teachers' Association. It was in the nature of these groups that some lasted only a few years; their demise could in some cases be explained by the fact that their concerns were increasingly being dealt with by tertiary researchers and teachers, through courses and research projects as well as political lobbying. In August 1989 feminist educators met after the Women's Studies Conference in Nelson and planned for the following year their first national conference, where they focused on topics across the spectrum, from preschool to tertiary level.

Beyond the professional area, there was an awakening interest in what people could do for themselves in small, informal community groups. Māori women, working together to ensure that their children retained their language and culture, were at the core of a whole new approach to learning.

Attention to specific subject areas was a prominent feature of the women's education movement from 1980 on. Until the 1980s, the only easily identifiable group of qualified women to show concern for the way their subject was taught in schools was the Home Science Alumnae. Although the question of sex bias in the teaching of mathematics was raised by concerned teachers in the early 1980s, a 1982 survey of mathematical associations – with a predictably high male membership – indicated little interest in this issue. However, a report on the survey predicted 'an upsurge of interest, research and action'. [12] Women did indeed swing into action, setting up a network for sharing information and affiliating with the international Organisation of Women and Mathematics Education. A separate group called EQUALS, with origins in California, was later started to look at courses in mathematics and science and at the possibilities of 'gender-friendly programmes', aiming to get more women taking part in and enjoying science courses.

Having started in Auckland, Skills and Opportunities in Science (SOS) provided support for schools developing their own programmes for girls, largely with the aim of changing preconceived ideas about what science education and scientific careers involved. Typical of its activities was a one-day course at Riccarton in July 1991, designed 'to show the excitement and challenge of a science career in industry'. [13] Problem-solving exercises were devised to include planning and teamwork, and women working in industry were present as role models. Impetus for these programmes came from professional groups such as the Association for Women in the Sciences (Wellington) and WIMMSET (Women in Medicine, Mathematics, Science, Engineering and Technology).

By the 1990s, formal equality of access to the education system had been achieved, and some progress had been made toward full equity. Under 'Tomorrow's Schools', introduced in 1989, more women were taking part in managing the schools of Aotearoa: in 1989 and 1992, women won approximately 45 per cent of the parents' seats on boards of trustees. [14] The issue of gender equity in education, however, was not officially removed from the government's agenda.

Women's groups with a concern for education were left with a good deal of frustration. The findings of a research project carried out by Dr Adrienne Alton-Lee and Professor Graham Nuthall indicated that there was still a high degree of bias in favour of males in curriculum content and teaching practice, as well as a degree of hidden racism. This was in line with much overseas research. Alton-Lee pointed out how tenuous the hold on advances towards equity was:

In the United States gender equity is built into the law. Our National Government has made the equity clauses in school charters, introduced by the Labour Government, optional. In effect, that is giving the message that being fair to girls is a matter of choice. [15]

There appeared to be a continuing task for women's groups working to counter the gender bias in education.

Ruth Fry


Between 1994 and 2018, a small number of women’s groups and organisations continued to focus on issues in and around girls’ and women’s education. This was because the Girls’ and Women’s section in the Ministry of Education was scrapped in 1992. Small gains were made within national curriculum developments from 1993, with the gender-inclusive requirement that the curriculum meet the needs of girls and boys. Just how this translated into practice in the decade between 1989 and 2000 was summarised by Alton-Lee and Praat’s research in 2000. [16] From that time, issues relating to gender identity and combating homophobia in schools were increasingly taken up by students and incorporated into school and tertiary education policies.

By 2000, girls were achieving higher national school qualifications than boys in the last three years of secondary school. National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) qualifications were introduced in 2002, replacing School Certificate and Bursary qualifications. Thereafter, girls stayed on at school longer than boys and out-performed boys across all senior levels of NCEA and University Entrance. This trend continued into tertiary education. For example, in 2000, 12,319 women completed Certificate-level study, compared with 9117 men; and 14,745 women completed degrees, compared with 8291 men. [17] Overall, women of working age were now more highly qualified than men.

Yet many girls from lower socio-economic backgrounds still faced significant barriers in progressing to tertiary education or postgraduate study. With increasing student fees and living costs, women struggled to cope with the student loans introduced in 1992, as well as with juggling study and part-time work.

Acknowledging this in a practical way, the New Horizons for Women Trust: Hine Kahukura was established in 1991. It provided awards to assist women and/or girls with the costs of tertiary, especially second–chance, education, to support women conducting research benefiting women/girls in Aotearoa, and to support specific educational initiatives. In 2018 it made 26 second–chance education awards, 11 specific purpose awards and five research awards.

The subjects studied by women underwent little change. Women remained less likely to study the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering, mathematics – which led to high-paying jobs. Women were also less likely to train as builders, plumbers or electricians, trades that tended to be higher-paid than women-dominated occupations such as hairdressing. Recognising that girls and women needed a supportive environment in which to gain confidence in their role in the sciences, and a network to share scientific information, experience and skills, the New Zealand Association for Women in the Sciences had been founded in 1985. In 2015 GirlBoss New Zealand was founded to help young women (aged 11–18) to close this gender gap. With over 8000 members in 2018, it ran workshops throughout New Zealand and established a series of awards to encourage and support its members into STEM subjects, and also into entrepreneurship and leadership.

Craighead Diocesan School students at science and technology fair

Stuff Limited

Craighead Diocesan School students, Kate Ritchie (left), 12, and Emma Campbell, 11, during science class ahead of a regional science and technology fair in Timaru.

Another school-based innovation came in the form of feminist school clubs, formed by young women from 2013; examples included FeminEast at Wellington East Girls’ College (2013); Young Feminists clubs at Auckland’s Western Springs College (2015) and St Dominic’s College, West Auckland (2016); and Auckland Young Feminist Society (2017). Such groups emphasised having to deal with misogyny, sexism and aggression, especially on the internet and television, and the impact of sexist language use by staff and students on girls’ education. These young feminist sites featured young celebrities regularly discussing contemporary concerns such as physical self-loathing, self-harm, eating disorders, access to sanitary products and contraception, and workplace discrimination. At a time when some might have believed feminism to be outdated, these young women’s groups demonstrated a burgeoning political concern with a range of gender inequities, through meetings, workshops, protest action and social media. [18]

Significant differences remained between women from different ethnic groups in terms of qualifications, although there were gains in comparison with men of the same ethnicities. Māori and Pacific women remained over-represented among those without post-school qualifications. PACIFICA, founded in 1975, continued to raise concerns with government agencies relating to educational access, achievement and retention among Pacific girls and women.

In 2017, girls and women were continuing to do better overall than boys and men at school and in tertiary education. Girls were more likely than boys to stay at school until age 17 (86.1 per cent, compared with 80.1 per cent), and were achieving better at NCEA level 3 (70.3 per cent, compared with 60.6 per cent for boys). In Year 13, more girls were attaining University Entrance (62.1 per cent, compared with 42.7 per cent for boys). These trends continued through to degree completions (62.1 per cent women, 37.9 per cent men). [19]

Yet after women being told for so long that better education was the key to equal pay and promotion, this progress was not matched in the workforce. Men earned more than women with similar qualifications in their first year of work after tertiary study, and the gap widened from that point. Among those with masters’ degrees or doctorates, the earnings gap was even higher. For example, five years after graduating with a bachelor’s degree, women earned $49.456, men $53,487. Five years after gaining doctorates, women earned $65,173, men $76,606. [20]

Within the school sector, women comprised the majority of primary and secondary teachers (84 per cent and 60 per cent respectively). In 2017, slightly more women (1222) than men (1138) were principals of state and state integrated schools. [21] Meanwhile, the number of women chairing school boards of trustees had increased from 56 per cent in 1997 to 82 per cent in 2017; by then, women made up 82 per cent of those serving as trustees across the school sectors. [22]

In 2018, women’s organisations concerned with girls’ and women’s education continued to promote educational opportunities and gender equity in education. While the high levels of general achievement among women and girls were encouraging, issues of concern remained for participation levels of Māori and Pacific women, subject choices leading to lower remuneration in the workforce, and, as before, even in higher-paid occupations, the lack of pay equity with male colleagues.

Kay Morris Matthews


[1] Sutch, 1973, p. 2.

[2] White Ribbon, 18 April 1912, p. 1.

[3] Matthews, 1988, p. 10.

[4] See BNZW, pp. 565–66.

[5] North London Collegiate School Prospectus, London, [1959], p. 7.

[6] Morris Matthews, 2008, p. 38.

[7] Cunnington, 1989, p. 86.

[8] Wilson and Labrum, 1993, p. 285.

[9] Annual Report, 1911, quoted in Heather Northey et al., Auckland Girls’ Grammar School: the first hundred years, AGGS, Auckland, 1988, p. 80.

[10] Only two of these special character schools, Hukarere and St Joseph’s, existed in 2018, both with active Old Girls’ Associations.

[11] Department of Education, Report to the Currie Commission, Government Printer, Wellington, 1960, p. 222.

[12] Helen Wily, 'Gender and Mathematics', paper prepared for a study group of the International Association for the Evaluation of Education Achievement, Columbus, Ohio, 1982, p. 6.

[13] Programme, SOS for Girls, Riccarton High School, 25 July 1991.

[14] Figures supplied by Ministry of Education, 30 August 1992.

[15] Adrienne Alton-Lee interviewed by Glenys Bowman, Press, Christchurch, 1 July 1992.

[16] Alton-Lee, A., and Praat, A., 2001.

[17] Ministry of Education, Participation rates, 2004.

[18] Jackson, 2018.

[19] Ministry of Education, Participation rates, 2018.

[20] Ministry for Women, Empirical evidence of the gender pay gap in New Zealand, 2017.

[21] Ministry of Education, Teacher headcount and percentage by designation and gender, 2017

[22] Ministry of Education, Boards of Trustees, 2017.

Unpublished sources

Anna Stout Papers, Hocken

Manuscript report of Equal Opportunity Education Committee, Christchurch, 1982

'Petition of Ladies for Admittance', 31 July 1871, University of Otago, letters and papers, Hocken

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Alcorn, Noeline, ' Women's Studies: Influencing Practice in Continuing Education', Women's Studies Journal, Vol. 8 No. 1, 47–59, March 1992

Alton-Lee, Adrienne and Angelique Praat, Explaining and addressing gender differences in the New Zealand compulsory school sector, Ministry of Education, Wellington, 2001.

Broadbent, Coral, The slowly opening door: women and social change in New Zealand, Longman Paul, Auckland, 1987

Cunnington, Eveline, The lectures and letters of E.W. Cunnington, edited by her children, Lyttelton Times, Christchurch, 1918

Department of Education, Education and the equality of the sexes: a report of the conference in International Women’s Year, 1975, Department of Education, Wellington, 1976

Department of Education, State secondary schools in New Zealand: a baseline survey, Department of Education, Wellington, 1981

Fry, Ruth, It's different for daughters: a hstory of state secondary schools, 1900–1975, New Zealand Council for Educational Research, Wellington, 1985

Gardner, W.J., Colonial cap and gown, University of Canterbury Press, Christchurch, 1979

Jackson, Sue., ‘Young Feminists, Feminisms and Digital Media’, Feminism & Psychology, Vol 28, No. 1, 32–49, 2018

Matthews, Kay, Behind every school: the history of the Hawke’s Bay Education Board, HBEB, Napier, 1988

Middleton, Sue (ed.), Women and education in Aotearoa, Allen & Unwin, Wellington, 1988

Ministry of Education, Participation rates, 2004Retrieved from

Ministry of Education, Teacher headcount and percentage by designation and gender, 2017. Retrieved from

Ministry of Education, Boards of Trustees, 2017. Retrieved from

Ministry of Education, Participation rates, 2018. Retrieved from

Ministry for Women, Empirical evidence of the gender pay gap in New Zealand, 2017. Retrieved from

Morris Matthews, Kay, In their own right: women and higher education in New Zealand before 1945, NZCER, Wellington, 2008

New Zealand Schoolmaster, selected copies, 1900–1912

O’Regan, Pauline and Teresa O’Connor, Community – give it a go!, Allen & Unwin, Wellington, 1989

Sutch, W.B., Women with a cause, New Zealand University Press, Wellington, 1973

Wallis, Eileen, A most rare vision: Otago Girls’ High School – the first one hundred years, OGHS Board of Governors, Dunedin, 1972

Wilson, Margaret and Bronwyn Labrum, ‘Christina Henderson’,  in C. Macdonald, M. Penfold and B. Williams (eds), The book of New Zealand women, 1993, pp. 285–89.