Oceania

As with other regions, the boundaries here are subject to debate. We are including Australia, New Zealand, and the southern, western, and central Pacific Islands, including Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia, areas with very different traditions of settlement and providing diverse relations of Indigenous and settler peoples. Australia and New Zealand have enshrined much of the British legal tradition but the former was far in advance of the ‘homeland’ in enfranchising all women in 1893. In contrast, the first female enfranchisement legislation in Australia’s Queensland and Western Australia did not include Aboriginal women. In 1997 New Zealand elected its first female prime minister, Jenny Shipley, while Australia chose Julia Gillard ten years later. The smaller Pacific Islands have their own traditions stemming from Indigenous and various imperial cultures. Women have stood in the forefront of Maori protests about land, sovereignty, and racial equality and alliances among Pacific islands women have also emerged. Violence and poverty are also widespread among Indigenous populations everywhere. There are nonetheless promising signs.  In 2001 the Pacific’s Francophone territories “require[d] political parties to nominate equal numbers of women and men on their electoral lists”, producing a marked increase in representation (George 2011).

Oceania Suffrage Timeline

Right to Vote
Right to Stand for Election
Australia
June 12th, 1902 June 12th, 1902
Australia (Aboriginal)
June 18th, 1962 June 18th, 1962
Fiji
April 17th, 1963 May 5th, 1963
Kiribati
November 15th, 1967 November 15th, 1967
Marshall Islands
May 1st, 1979 May 1st, 1979
Federated States of Micronesia
November 3rd, 1979 November 3rd, 1979
Nauru
January 3rd, 1968 January 3rd, 1968
New Zealand
September 19th, 1893 October 29th, 1919
Palau
April 2nd, 1979 April 2nd, 1979
Papua New Guinea
February 15th, 1964 February 27th, 1963
Samoa
October 1990 October 1990
Solomon Islands
1978 1978
Tonga
1960 1960
Tuvalu
January 1st, 1947 January 1st, 1967
Vanutua
November 1975 November 1975

Resources

“Asian-Paciofic Resource & Research Centre for Women.” http://www.arrow.org.my/

“Brief History of New Zealand women and the Vote.” New Zealand History on Line. http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/politics/womens-suffrage/brief-history

Dixon, Marlene. 1999. Real Matilda: Woman and Identity in Australia 1788 to the Present. 4th ed. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press.

George, Nicole. 2011. “Pacific Islands women are quietly making their mark on male politics.” September 12. The Conversation. http://theconversation.edu.au/pacific-islands-women-are-quietly-making-their-mark-on-male-politics-3297

George, Nichole. 2009. “Women’s Organising in Fiji: Shifting Terrains of Transnational Engagement” in Gender and Global Politics in the Asia-Pacific, Katrina Lee Koo and Bina D’Costa. eds. Palgrave-Macmillan, New York. 175-93.

Grimshaw, Patricia, Katie Holmes & Marilyn Lake (Eds) (2001) Women’s Rights and Human Rights: international historical perspectives (Basingstoke: Palgrave).

Holmes, Mary. 2000. “Second-Wave Feminism and the Politics of Relationships.” Women’s Studies International Forum. 23:2. 235-46.

Jolly, M. 2005. “Beyond the Horizon? Nationalisms, Feminisms, and Globalization in the Pacific.” In Outside Gods: History making in the Pacific. Ethnohistory. Special Issue. 52:1.

Jolly, M. and K. Ram, eds. 2001. Borders of Being: Citizenship, Fertility, and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Jones, Alison, Phyllis Herda, and Tamasailau M. Suaalii, eds. 2000. Bitter Sweet: Indigenous Women in the Pacific. Otago: University of Otago Press.

Lake, Fiona. 1999. Getting Equal: the History of Australian Feminism. St. Leonards, AU: Allen & Unwin.

Paisley, Fiona. 2009. Glamour in the Pacific: Cultural Internationalism & Race Politics in the Women’s Pan-Pacific. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

Pickles, Katie. 2009, ‘Colonisation, Empire and Gender’, in Giselle Byrnes (ed) The New Oxford History of New Zealand (Oxford University Press, Oxford and Melbourne), 219-241.“Women’s Rights & Advocacy in the Pacific.” http://www.wrap.org.nz/

Wright, Debbie H., Rosalind Meno Ram, and Kathleen Fromm. 2005. Narratives and Images of Pacific Island Women. N.Y. Edwin Mellen Press.