Last night, on the eve of the 125th anniversary of New Zealand becoming the first country in the world to grant women the right to vote, VICE hosted a special preview screening of our 'Suffrage Series' of Zealandia documentaries. Ursula Williams, head of video for VICE New Zealand, says the event was a chance to "commemorate and celebrate" 125 years of female suffrage.
But it was more than that also. The panel discussion—featuring Green MP Golriz Ghahraman, Annah Pickering from the NZ Prostitutes Collective, and fighters Kelly Broerse and Baby Nansen—that followed the screening was a chance to honestly assess what there is to still achieve for New Zealand women, and how to go about it. “If female voices aren’t heard and they are not represented within leadership discussions," says Williams, "then the voices of women get lost or diluted and therefore issues that pertain to women aren’t addressed.”
During the process of making the documentaries Williams says she was heartened by the passion of all the women involved. "Hearing from a lot of women throughout the making of it, and hearing that there are other women who feel as strongly as I do about changing the status quo of where women reside in society is almost overwhelming.”
At this chance to reflect on all the gains women have made over the last 125 years, however, Williams says we mustn't lose sight of the battles still to come. “We do still have so far to go… Are we there yet? No is the answer. It’s not up for debate.”