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Women past and present, Kim Worthington

Women Equality Power: Helen Clark: Selected Speeches from a Life of Leadership
Allen and Unwin, $45.00,
ISBN 9781988547053

Women Now: The Legacy of Female Suffrage
Bronwyn Labrum (ed)
Te Papa Press, $35.00,
ISBN 9780994146007

If there was ever a year in which to publish a collection of Helen Clark’s speeches, 2018 was it. This was, after all, the year in which New Zealand celebrated the 125th anniversary of the granting of female suffrage, the first nation in the world to do so. This not only gave women the right to vote, but ultimately led to women being able to enter parliament (although this took a further 30-odd years) – and finally become leaders of the nation. It was also the year in which one of Clark’s Labour Party mentees, Jacinda Ardern, became our third female New Zealand prime minister, gave birth while in office and, after a very short period of maternity leave, resumed her professional role. This is not irrelevant to both books under review – Ardern writes the foreword to Clark’s collected speeches, is mentioned more than once in Clark’s later speeches, and in Women Now. 2018 was also the year in which the #MeToo movement gained its most traction worldwide, something that is referred to several times in both books under review.

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Posted in Essays, Gender, Non-fiction, Review, Sociology

Lessons from history, Bronwyn Labrum

Rough on Women: Abortion in 19th Century New Zealand
Margaret Sparrow
Victoria University Press, $40.00,
ISBN 9780864739360

Someone I follow on Twitter reported that a friend of hers had no idea that abortion is yet to be decriminalised in New Zealand. This was tweeted in the context of the debates about the 2014 general election, when issues about abortion were barely raised. Increasingly liberal practice since the late 1970s has made abortion services more widely accessible, and extremely safe. But those who were part of that social media conversation, as well as a much wider audience, deserve to read this second, much needed book from the redoubtable Margaret Sparrow, well-known for her long career in reproductive and general health and publicly recognised for her services to medicine and to the community.

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Posted in Gender, Health, History, Non-fiction, Review, Sociology

Patchwork, Deborah Montgomerie

Fragments: New Zealand Social and Cultural History  ed Bronwyn Dalley and Bronwyn Labrum Auckland University Press, $39.95, ISBN 1 86940 185 9 Fragments bills itself as a step towards a Brave New World of sophisticated histories of New Zealand life,

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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review, Sociology

Writing herstory, Margaret Lovell-Smith

Women’s History: A Short Guide to Researching and Writing Women’s History in New Zealand Bronwyn Labrum, Bridget Williams Books/ Historical Branch, Department of Internal Affairs, $17.95 Women of Spirit Barbara Sampson, The Salvation Army, $9.95 The Ladies Are At It

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Posted in Gender, History, Non-fiction, Review

Variety, uniqueness and eccentricity, Bronwyn Labrum

Women in History 2 Barbara Brookes, Charlotte Macdonald, and Margaret Tennant (eds), Bridget Williams Books, $34.95   Mid-way through women’s suffrage centenary year, the distinctly double‑edged nature of the whole business is becoming increasingly apparent. On the one hand women

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Posted in Gender, History, Non-fiction, Review
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