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Parliament celebrates 100 years since women could stand as MPs

It has been 100 years since women won the right to stand for Parliament in New Zealand, despite being able to vote since 1893. 

A law change in 1919 allowed women to stand for Parliament, but it was not until 1933 when Elizabeth McCombs won a seat in her late husband's electorate. 

Elected in 1943, Mabel Howard was the country's first female Cabinet Minister and National's Ruth Richardson was the first MP to breastfeed at Parliament in 1983.

TVNZ1's Q+A asked if the women at the top today saw a change in sexist behaviour or comments in Parliament. 

Labour MP Louisa Wall said she was "not sure if it's generally known but most of us have received death threats, rape threats, we get criticised all the time, sometimes for what we wear". 

Former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley called it "awful and severe". 

"I'm not even going to repeat it because that's what the bullies want."

National MP Judith Collins recalled being called a "trout" by former Labour leader David Cunliffe. 

Women currently make up 40 per cent of Parliament's MPs. 

Watch the full story in the video above. 

Q+A is on TVNZ1 on Mondays at 9.30pm, and the episode is then available on TVNZ OnDemand and as a podcast in all the usual places.

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It is 100 years since a law passed to allow women to run for Parliament. Source: Q+A


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