Date: 2008-03-15 10:07:00
kiwi trivia

So last night we were playing Cranium (a game of many things including trivia) with a bunch of people. We had: 3 Kiwis, 2 French, 2 Americans, and one each of Canadian, Brit, German, and Swede. (That sort of diversity seems typical for our circles of friends here.) The question that came up was:

Which country was the earliest to have full women's suffrage?

At this point everybody laughed because everybody knows the answer is going to be New Zealand. Everybody who lives here knows that, especially if you're originally from somewhere else!

  1. South Africa
  2. France
  3. Great Britain
  4. Tasmania

We quickly realised that the although the question did not mention the earliest country, it could still be valid because the implication was "of these four choices, which was the earliest?" We quickly eliminated South Africa, and Tasmania (which as far as we knew was never actually a country). We chose Great Britain, but the "correct" answer according to the game was Tasmania! A brief look at an encyclopedia (the physical paper kind) during the game was unenlightening.

When I got home I looked on wikipedia, and neither the History of Tasmania article nor the Women's suffrage article mentions anything of the sort. Tasmania was apparently never even a country, and furthermore didn't have full suffrage for men until 1900 (before that, only property owners had the right to vote). We figured that the game designers had just thought "oh, it was some island off the coast of Australia, must have been Tasmania!" without even bothering to look it up. It makes one wonder what other trivia they might have messed up. At least, we won't trust their grasp of New Zealand related trivia next time!

Which edition of Cranium? Amerian English one?
Probably so. I know it was the second edition, but I didn't notice any other localisation indications.
I was in NZ right after the centennial, so I quickly learned this fact.

Also, I remember learning in high school that parts of the US (some state?) had accidentally allowed women the right to vote (by not excluding it in the legal wording), but it was later "rectified". That would have been prior to NZ ... but not being nationwide, it doesn't count?

Also, while proud of NZ, I still find the question to be kind of ... assuming? What counts as a "country" and what counts as "women's suffrage"? Certainly societies have existed over the millennia where women had full participation in the governing of the society, it just might not have been larger than a single village. There just seems to smack of this assumption that it wasn't until modern times that civilized society finally brought us all these advancements, as if history has been purely monotonically progressing better and better over time, as if there never could have been a pocket of women's suffrage somewhere, because that would imply that the line of progress has had its ups and down, or that societies besides our modern countries might actually have had their merits.
I see what you're saying and it makes sense. Certainly there have been matriarchal societies both in the past and present that offer more authority to women than historically has been the case in modern western nations. But at least today, there is a well-defined set of nations that (almost?) everybody recognises, many of which have some sort of democratic process of leader selection, some of which offer the suffrage rights to all women, and there is one which has offered that right for the longest time. So, in that sense it's perfectly valid. :)
Agreed :)
One of several reasons why trivia games are not among my favorite games... You and your friends need to play more "real" boardgames. :)
I had indeed expected this very response from you. :) We brought Carcassonne but didn't have an opportunity to play that time. Maybe next time.
Oh, hey! I shall be in the glorious Land of the Long White Cloud in April/May! I could maybe swing a visit down to see you guys, or maybe we could try to meet halfway ... which might be Picton, but that's not exciting ... any chance you'd want to come to Wellington? If your Esperanto isn't too rusty, there are some nice Esperantists in the area, we could make an event of it. Otherwise, just hanging out with you guys would be fun ... if we can make something work. Let me email you the dates that I'll be in town.
Greg Hewgill <>