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She is the world's first successful suffragette. Her work and petitioning of New Zealand's parliament is the reason that the nation became the first country in the world to grant women the right to vote.
After New Zealand embraced universal suffrage in 1893, Sheppard inspired successful suffrage movements in other parts of the world.
In the late 1880s, Sheppard began drafting and promoting petitions to New Zealand's parliament that would prevent women from being employed as barmaids.
It was rejected by parliament, and she became convinced that politicians would continue to reject petitions put forward by women, as long as women did not have the right to vote.
By 1888, Sheppard became the President of the Christchurch branch of the New Zealand Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). She quickly became a prominent figure of the women's suffrage movement, and hosted political events across New Zealand.
In 1891, Sheppard started making parliamentary petitions to persuade politicians to support the vote for women.
Seeing the success of the suffrage movement in New Zealand, woman's suffrage groups around the world started to follow in her footsteps, copying her tactics with enormous success.
Australia granted women the right to vote in 1902, Finland in 1906, Norway in 1913. The trend continued long after Sheppard's lifetime.
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