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.
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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.
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.
In 1893, New Zealand was the first country to give women the right to vote. It was revolutionary at the time.
Since then, New Zealand has had three female prime ministers. Women have held each of New Zealand's key constitutional positions in government. New Zealand has also had a female governor-general, speaker of the House of Representatives, attorney general, and chief justice.
International Women's Day is marked with celebration as well as with protest, but the day's legacy remains a struggle for women's rights.
Lucy Wills was a hematologist who discovered that folic acid could be used to prevent life-threatening types of anemia in pregnant women.
Will's research into women's health during pregnancy has changed prenatal care and saved many lives. Today folic acid is recommended for all pregnant women.