Census Sunday: 1911 suffragette evaders


By 1911 New Zealand women had voting rights for nearly two decades, while their UK sisters still battled for their rights and a voice.  The Women's Freedom League incited members with its Manifesto to " … oppose, hamper, destroy if possible, the power of an unrepresentative Government to govern women, refuse to be taxed, boycott the Census, refuse all official information until women have won that which is their absolute right – the right of a voice and vote."

Women and the vote, 1914.
Sir George Grey Special Collections,
Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19140416-48-6
The Women's Freedom League initiated a boycott of census day, Sunday 2 April 1911, to protest their lack of rights to vote. These suffragette evaders refused to have their names added to their own household registers, effectively 'vanishing' from the census while many left their homes for the day. 

Evaders such as Louisa Burnham defiantly wrote the words "No vote, no census. If I am intelligent enough to fill in this census form I can surely make a X on a ballot paper" across the schedule.











1911 Census of England,
 RG 14/2277/362 [Ancestry]



1911 Census of England,
RG 14/152 [Ancestry]
So, if you have been looking for a female family member and she is mysteriously missing from the 1911 Census of England and Wales, perhaps she too made a stand and boycotted.

Auckland Libraries has recently added two new books on the subject to the collection and there are borrowable copies.



Women and the vote : a world history by Jad Adams, 2014.

Vanishing for the vote : suffrage, citizenship and the battle for the census by Jill Liddington, 2014.

Karen
Central Auckland Research Centre

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