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Harriet Morison Fighting for Fairness

Harriet Morison leaves an important legacy, as a unionist suffragist and feminist. Harriet is an example of the strong connections between women workers and their fight for women’s rights in Aotearoa New Zealand. In 1890 in Dunedin Harriet Morison became the Secretary of the Tailoresses Union. It was the first union to represent female workers in New Zealand.

This short film brings to life the role Harriet Morison had in mobilising working-class women in Dunedin to sign the 1892 suffrage petition to improve the appalling conditions of work for women working in factories and in homework.

The film has clips from her speeches, newspapers of the day and parliamentary processes. The film draws a connection to the achievement of equal pay for care and support workers and other pay campaigns as women fight for pay equity now in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

The film’s director, Caitlin Lynch, is a Master’s student in film at Victoria University. Documentary filmmaker Anna Cottrell, AC Productions and Eileen Brown from the CTU were the co-producers. The background music is from local Wellington union choir — Choir Choir Pants on Fire.

The Council of Trade Unions was proud to play a strong role in developing and supporting this film. The film was undertaken with funding from the Ministry for Women’s 125 Suffrage fund, Whakatū Wāhine, and with additional support from New Zealand unions.