Women's suffrage


Women's suffrage
U.S. women suffragists demonstrating for the right to vote, February 1913

Women's suffrage or woman suffrage[1] is the right of women to vote and to run for office. The expression is also used for the economic and political reform movement aimed at extending these rights to women[2] and without any restrictions or qualifications such as property ownership, payment of tax, or marital status. The movement's modern origins can be attributed to late-18th century France, although full suffrage did not come to France or the French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec. Limited voting rights were gained by some women in Sweden, Britain, and some western U.S. states in the 1860s. In 1893, the British colony of New Zealand became the first self-governing nation to extend the right to vote to all adult women, and the women of the nearby colony of South Australia achieved the same right in 1895 but became the first to obtain also the right to stand (run) for Parliament (women did not win the right to run for the New Zealand legislature until 1919).[3][4] The first European country to introduce women's suffrage was the Grand Principality of Finland and that country, then a part of the Russian Empire with autonomous powers, produced the world's first female members of parliament as a result of the 1907 parliamentary elections.

Women's suffrage has generally been recognized after political campaigns to obtain it were waged. In many countries it was granted before universal suffrage. Women’s suffrage is explicitly stated as a right under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, adopted by the United Nations in 1979.

Contents

History

Woman Suffrage Headquarters, Cleveland, 1913

In medieval France and several other European countries, voting for city and town assemblies and meetings was open to the heads of households. In Sweden, conditional woman suffrage was granted during the age of liberty between 1718 and 1771, when taxpaying women listed in the guilds as professionals were allowed to vote.[5]

Women were entitled to vote in the Corsican Republic in 1755 whose Constitution stipulated a national representative assembly elected by all inhabitants over the age of 25, both women (if unmarried or widowed) and men.[citation needed] Women's suffrage was ended when France annexed the island in 1769. The modern movement for women's suffrage originated in France in the 1780s and 1790s, where Antoine Condorcet and Olympe de Gouges advocated women's suffrage in national elections.

In 1756, Lydia Chapin Taft became the first legal woman voter in colonial America. This occurred under British rule in the Massachusetts Colony.[6] This was in a New England town meeting and she voted on at least three occasions in Uxbridge, Massachusetts.[7]

Women in New Jersey could vote (with the same property qualifications as for men, although, since married women did not own property in their own right, only unmarried women and widows qualified) under the state constitution of 1776, where the word "inhabitants" was used without qualification of sex or race. New Jersey women, along with "aliens...persons of color, or negroes," lost the vote in 1807, when the franchise was restricted to white males, ostensibly, to combat electoral fraud by simplifying the conditions for eligibility.

Eighteen female MPs joined the Turkish Parliament in 1935

In the 1792 elections in Sierra Leone, all heads of household—one-third of whom were African women—could vote.[8]

The female descendants of the Bounty mutineers who lived on Pitcairn Islands could vote from 1838, and this right transferred with their resettlement to Norfolk Island (now an Australian external territory) in 1856.[4] Various countries, colonies and states granted restricted women's suffrage in the latter half of the nineteenth century, starting with South Australia in 1861.

The seed for the first Woman's Rights Convention was planted in 1840, when Elizabeth Cady Stanton met Lucretia Mott at the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London, the conference that refused to seat Mott and other women delegates from America because of their sex. In 1851, Stanton met temperance worker Susan B. Anthony, and shortly the two would be joined in the long struggle to secure the vote for women. In 1868 Anthony encouraged working women from the printing and sewing trades in New York, who were excluded from men's trade unions, to form Workingwomen's Associations. As a delegate to the National Labor Congress in 1868 Anthony persuaded the committee on female labor to call for votes for women and equal pay for equal work, although the men at the conference deleted the reference to the vote.[9]

Women in the Wyoming Territory voted as of (1869). Other possible contenders for first "country" to grant female suffrage include the Corsican Republic, the Isle of Man (1881), the Pitcairn Islands, and Franceville, but some of these had brief existences as independent states and others were not clearly independent.

The 1871 Paris Commune recognized women's right to vote, but with its fall women were again deprived of the right, which would only be recognized again in July 1944 by Charles de Gaulle (at that time most of France—including Paris—was under Nazi occupation; Paris was liberated the following month). The Pacific colony of Franceville, declaring independence in 1889, became the first self-governing nation to adopt universal suffrage without distinction of sex or color;[10] however, it soon came back under French and British colonial rule.

In 1881 the Isle of Man, an internally self-governing dependent territory of the British Crown, enfranchised women property owners and delivered the first installment of women’s right to vote in parliamentary elections within the British Isles.[4]

Of currently existing independent countries, New Zealand was the first to acknowledge women's right to vote in 1893 when it was a self-governing British colony.[11] Unrestricted women's suffrage in terms of voting rights (women were not initially permitted to stand for election) was adopted in New Zealand in 1893. Following a successful movement led by Kate Sheppard, the women's suffrage bill was adopted mere weeks before the general election of that year. The women of the British protectorate of Cook Islands obtained the same right soon after and beat New Zealand's women to the polls in 1893.[12]

The self-governing British colony of South Australia enacted universal suffrage and enabled women to stand for the colonial parliament in 1895.[13] The Commonwealth of Australia federated in 1901, with women voting and standing for office in some states. The Australian Federal Parliament extended voting rights to all adult women for Federal elections from 1902 (with the exception of Aboriginal women in some states).[14]

The first European country to introduce women's suffrage was the Grand Duchy of Finland. Amidst the administrative reforms following the 1905 uprising, Finnish women's demand for both the right to vote (universal and equal suffrage) and the right to stand for election were met in 1906. The world's first female members of parliament were also Finnish, when on 1907, 19 women took up their places in the Parliament of Finland as a result of the 1907 parliamentary elections.

Soviet poster celebrates women's right to vote and to be elected.

In the years before World War I, women in Norway (1913) and Denmark (1915) also won the right to vote, as did women in the remaining Australian states. Near the end of the war, Canada, Soviet Russia, Germany and Poland also recognized women's right to participate in the elective franchise. British women over 30 had the vote in 1918, Dutch women in 1919, and American women won the vote in 1920. Women in Turkey won voting rights in 1926. In 1928, British women won suffrage on the same terms as men, that is, for persons 21 years old and older. One of the most recent jurisdictions to acknowledge women's full right to vote was Bhutan in 2008 (its first national elections).[15]

Voting rights for women were introduced into international law by the United Nations' Human Rights Commission, whose elected chair was Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that the Commission wrote. As stated in Article 21 "(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures."

Suffrage movements

After selling her home, British activist Emmeline Pankhurst travelled constantly, giving speeches throughout Britain and the United States. One of her most famous speeches, Freedom or death, was delivered in Connecticut in 1913.

The suffrage movement was a very broad one which encompassed women and men with a very broad range of views. One major division, especially in Britain, was between suffragists, who sought to create change constitutionally, and suffragettes, led by iconic English political activist Emmeline Pankhurst, who in 1903 formed the more militant Women's Social and Political Union.[16] Pankhurst would not be satisfied with anything but action on the question of women's enfranchisement, with "deeds, not words" the organisation's motto.[17] There was also a diversity of views on a 'woman's place'. Some who campaigned for women's suffrage felt that women were naturally kinder, gentler, and more concerned about weaker members of society, especially children. It was often assumed that women voters would have a civilizing effect on politics and would tend to support controls on alcohol, for example. Societies believed that although a woman's place was in the home, she should be able to influence laws which impacted upon that home. Other campaigners felt that men and women should be equal in every way and that there was no such thing as a woman's 'natural role'. There were also differences in opinion about other voters. Some campaigners felt that all adults were entitled to a vote, whether rich or poor, male or female, and regardless of race. Others saw women's suffrage as a way of canceling out the votes of lower class or non-white men.

Table of international women's suffrage

Date listed is the first date women were allowed to participate (by voting) in elections, not the date that women were granted universal suffrage without restrictions.

Note: The table can be sorted alphabetically or chronologically using the Sort none.gif icon.

Country Year Voting age
Afghanistan Kingdom of Afghanistan 1963 18 years
Albania Principality of Albania 1920 18 years
 Algeria 1962 18 years
 Andorra 1970 18 years
Angola People's Republic of Angola 1975 18 years
British Leeward Islands (Today: Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla) 1951 18 years
 Argentina 1947[18] 18 years
 Armenia 1917 (by application of the Russian legislation)
1919 March (by adoption of its own legislation)[19]
18 years (currently)
20 years (initially)
 Aruba a 18 years
 Australia 1902 18 years
Austria German Austria 1919 16 years (since 2007)
20 years (initially)
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan Democratic Republic 1918 18 years
 Bahamas 1960 18 years
 Bahrain 2002 18 years
 Bangladesh 1972 (since independence) 18 years
 Barbados 1950 18 years
British Windward Islands (Today: Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica 1951 18 years
Belarus Belarusian People's Republic 1919 18 years
 Belgium 1919/1948(b) 18 years
 British Honduras (Today: Belize) 1954 18 years
Benin Dahomey (Today: Benin) 1956 18 years
 Bermuda 1944 18 years
 Bhutan 1953 18 years
 Bolivia 1938 18 years
 Botswana 1965 18 years
 Brazil 1931 16 years
 Brunei 1959 18 years (village elections only)
 Kingdom of Bulgaria 1938 18 years
 Upper Volta (Today: Burkina Faso) 1958 18 years
United Kingdom Burma 1922 18 years
 Burundi 1961 18 years
Cambodia Kingdom of Cambodia 1955 18 years
British Cameroons (Today: Cameroon) 1946 20 years
 Canada 1917 18 years
 Cape Verde 1975 18 years
 Cayman Islands a 18 years
 Central African Republic 1986 21 years
 Chad 1958 18 years
 Chile 1934 18 years (currently)
25 years initially, able to read and write (local elections only)
 China 1947 18 years
 Colombia 1954 18 years
 Comoros 1956 18 years
 Zaire (Today: Democratic Republic of the Congo) 1967 18 years
 Congo, Republic of the 1963 18 years
 Cook Islands 1893 18 years
 Costa Rica 1949 18 years
 Côte d'Ivoire 1952 19 years
 Cuba 1934 16 years
 Cyprus 1960 18 years
 Czechoslovakia (Today: Czech Republic, Slovakia) 1920 18 years
 Denmark (Then including Iceland) 1915 18 years
 Djibouti 1946 18 years
 Dominican Republic 1942 18 years
 Ecuador 1929 18 years
 Egypt 1956 18 years
 El Salvador 1939 18 years
 Equatorial Guinea 1963 18 years
 Estonia 1917 18 years
 Ethiopia (Then including Eritrea) 1955 18 years
 Falkland Islands a 18 years
 Fiji 1963 21 years
 Finland 1906 18 years
 France 1944 18 years
 French Polynesia a 18 years
 Gabon 1956 21 years
 Gambia, The 1960 18 years
Georgia (country) Democratic Republic of Georgia 1918 18 years
 Germany 1918 18 years
 Ghana 1954 18 years
 Gibraltar a 18 years
 Greece 1930 (Local Elections, Literate Only), 1952 (Unconditional) 18 years (since 1952), 30 years (in 1930)
 Greenland a 18 years
 Guam a 18 years
 Guatemala 1946 18 years
 Guernsey a 18 years
 Guinea 1958 18 years
 Guinea-Bissau 1977 18 years
 Guyana 1953 18 years
 Haiti 1950 18 years
 Honduras 1955 18 years
 Hong Kong 1949 18 years
Hungary Hungarian Democratic Republic 1918 18 years
India India 1947 (Since the state's inception) 18 years
 Indonesia 1937 (for Europeans only), 1945 17 years (married persons regardless of age)
 Iran 1963 18 years, was 15
 Iraq 1980 18 years
 Ireland 1918 18 years
 Isle of Man 1881 16 years
 Israel 1948 (Since the state's inception) 18 years
 Italy 1946 18 years (except in senatorial elections, where minimum age is 25)
 Jamaica 1944 18 years
 Japan 1947 20 years
 Jersey a 16 years
 Jordan 1974 18 years
 Kazakh SSR 1924 18 years
 Kenya 1963 18 years
 Kiribati 1967 18 years
 Korea, North 1946 17 years
 Korea, South 1948 19 years
 Kuwait 2005 21 years
 Kyrgyz SSR 1918 18 years
Laos Kingdom of Laos 1958 18 years
 Latvia 1917 18 years
 Lebanon 1943 (with proof of elementary education). 1952 (proof not necessary) 21 years
 Lesotho 1965 18 years
 Liberia 1946 18 years
Libya Kingdom of Libya 1964 18 years
 Liechtenstein 1984 18 years
 Lithuania 1917 18 years
 Luxembourg 1919 18 years
 Macau a 18 years
 Madagascar 1959 18 years
 Malawi 1961 18 years
Federation of Malaya Federation of Malaya (Today: Malaysia) 1957 21 years
Maldives 1932 21 years
 Mali 1956 18 years
 Malta 1947 18 years
 Marshall Islands 1979 18 years
 Mauritania 1961 18 years
 Mauritius 1956 18 years
 Mexico 1947 18 years
 Micronesia, Federated States of 1979 18 years
 Moldova 1918 18 years
 Monaco 1962 18 years
Mongolia Mongolian People's Republic 1924 18 years
 Morocco 1963 18 years
Mozambique People's Republic of Mozambique 1975 18 years
 Namibia 1989 18 years
 Nauru 1968 20 years
 Nepal 1951 18 years
 Netherlands 1919 18 years
 New Zealand 1893 18 years
 Nicaragua 1955 16 years
 Niger 1948 18 years
 Nigeria 1958 18 years
 Norway 1913 18 years
 Oman 2003 21 years
 Pakistan 1947 (Since the state's inception) 18 years
 Palau 1979 18 years
 Panama 1941 18 years
 Papua New Guinea 1964 18 years
 Paraguay 1961 18 years
 Peru 1955 18 years
 Philippines 1937 18 years
 Pitcairn Islands 1838 18 years
 Poland 1917 18 years
 Portugal 1931 18 years
 Puerto Rico 1929 18 years
 Qatar 1997 18 years
 Kingdom of Romania 1938 18 years
Russia Russian Provisional Government 1917 18 years (currently)
20 years (initially, for city dumas)[20]
21 year (initially, for RCA)[21]
 Rwanda 1961 18 years
 Saint Helena a a
 Samoa a 21 years
 San Marino 1959 18 years
 São Tomé and Príncipe 1975 18 years
 Saudi Arabia 2015 (expected) 21 years
 Senegal 1945 18 years
 Seychelles 1948 17 years
 Sierra Leone 1961 18 years
 Singapore 1947 21 years
 Solomon Islands 1974 21 years
 Somalia 1956 18 years
 South Africa 1930 (White); 1968 (Coloured); 1984 (Indian); 1994 (Black) 18 years (21 years initially until lowered in 1960)
 Spain 1931 18 years
 Ceylon (Today: Sri Lanka) 1931 18 years
 Sudan 1964 17 years
 Dutch Guiana (Today: Suriname) 1948 18 years
 Swaziland 1968 18 years
 Sweden 1921 18 years
 Switzerland 1971 18 years
 Syria 1949 18 years
 Taiwan 1947 20 years
 Tajik SSR 1924 18 years
 Tanzania 1959 18 years
 Thailand 1932 18 years
 Timor-Leste 1976 17 years
 Togo 1945 18 years
 Tonga 1960 21 years
 Trinidad and Tobago 1946 18 years
 Tunisia 1959 18 years
 Turkey 1930 (for local elections), 1934 (for national elections) 18 years
 Turkmen SSR 1924 18 years
 Tuvalu 1967 18 years
 Uganda 1962 18 years
 Ukrainian SSR 1919 18 years
 United Arab Emirates 2006 a
 United Kingdom (Then including Ireland) 1918 and 1928 18 years, was 30 and then 21 years
 United States 1920 18 years
 Uruguay 1927 18 years
 Uzbek SSR 1938 18 years
 Vanuatu 1975 18 years
 Venezuela 1946 18 years
 Vietnam 1946 18 years
 South Yemen 1967 18 years
 Zambia 1962 18 years
 Southern Rhodesia (Today: Zimbabwe) 1919 21 years
 Yugoslavia (Today: Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia) 1945 18 years

Note:

(a) Data unavailable
(b) Was granted in the constitution in 1919, for communal voting. Suffrage for the provincial councils and the national parliament only came in 1948.

Women's suffrage by country

Australian women's rights were lampooned in this 1887 Melbourne Punch cartoon: A hypothetical female member foists her baby's care on the House Speaker

Asia

Indonesia

In the first half of the twentieth century, Indonesia (pre-independence era) was one of the slowest moving countries to gain women’s suffrage. They began their fight in 1905 by introducing municipal councils that included some members elected by a restricted district. Voting rights only went to males that could read and write, which excluded many non-European males. At the time, the literacy rate for males was 11% and for females 2%. The main group who pressured the Indonesian government for women’s suffrage was the Dutch Vereeninging voor Vrouwenkiesrecht (VVV-Women’s Suffrage Association) which was founded in the Netherlands in 1894. They tried to attract Indonesian membership, but had very limited success because the leaders of the organization had little skill in relating to even the educated class of the Indonesians. When they eventually did connect somewhat with women, they failed to sympathize with them and thus ended up alienating many well-educated Indonesians. In 1918 the colony gained its first national representative body called the Volksraad, which still excluded women in voting. In 1935, the colonial administration used its power of nomination to appoint a European woman to the Volksraad. In 1938, the administration introduced the right of women to be elected to urban representative institution, which resulted in some Indonesian and European women entering municipal councils. Eventually, the law became that only European women and municipal councils could vote,[clarification needed] which excluded all other women and local councils. September 1941 was when this law was amended and the law extended to women of all races by the Volksraad. Finally, in November 1941, the right to vote for municipal councils was granted to all women on a similar basis to men (with property and educational qualifications).[22] There are a lot of women that supports the rights for women. The famous one is Raden Ajeng Kartini. She is also famous for her quote, "Habis Gelap, Terbitlah Terang" or in English, "After Dark, Comes the Light". It means that after bad days or dark days, there will always be hope everything including the success of the Women's Suffrage. Raden Ajeng Kartini did succeed. The other women that also fights for women's right also succeed. Raden Ajeng Kartini is so famous, Indonesians made a special date just for her, Hari Kartini, or Kartini's Day on the 21st of April, which is Kartini's birthday.

Iran

In 1963, a referendum overwhelmingly approved by voters gave women the right to vote, a right previously denied to them under the Iranian Constitution of 1906 pursuant to Chapter 2, Article 3.

Japan

Women's Rights meeting in Tokyo, to push for women's suffrage.

Although women were allowed to vote in some counties in 1880, women's suffrage was enacted at a national level in 1945.[23]

Kuwait

Women's suffrage in Kuwait was recognized in an amendment to electoral law on May 17, 2005.[24]

Saudi Arabia

In late September, 2011, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud declared that women would be able to vote and run for office starting in 2015. The franchise will apply to the only (semi-)elected bodies in the kingdom, the municipal councils. Half of the seats on municipal councils are elective, and the councils have few powers. [25] The council elections have been held since 2005 (the first time they were held before that was the 1960s).[26][27] for the first time since the 1960s.[citation needed] The King also declared that women would be eligible to be appointed to the Shura Council, an unelected body that issues advisory opinions on national policy.[28] '"This is great news," said Saudi writer and women's rights activist Wajeha al-Huwaider. "Women's voices will finally be heard. Now it is time to remove other barriers like not allowing women to drive cars and not being able to function, to live a normal life without male guardians."' Robert Lacey, author of two books about the kingdom, said, "This is the first positive, progressive speech out of the government since the Arab Spring.... First the warnings, then the payments, now the beginnings of solid reform." The king made the announcement in a five-minute speech to the Shura Council.[27]

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka (at that time Ceylon) was one of the first Asian countries to allow voting rights to women over the age of 21 without any restrictions. Since then, women have enjoyed a significant presence in the Sri Lankan political arena. The zenith of this favourable condition to women has been the 1960 July General Elections, in which Ceylon elected the world's first woman Prime Minister, Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike. Her daughter, Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga also became the Prime Minister later in 1994, and the same year she was elected as the Executive President of Sri Lanka, making her the fourth woman in the world to hold the portfolio.

Africa

Southern Rhodesia

Southern Rhodesian women won the vote in 1919 and Ethel Tawse Jollie (1875–1950) was elected to the Southern Rhodesia legislature 1920-1928, the first woman to sit in any national Commonwealth Parliament outwith Westminster. The influx of women settlers from the United Kingdom and the British Dominions proved a decisive factor in the 1922 referendum that rejected annexation by a South Africa increasingly under the sway of traditionalist Afrikaner Nationalists in favour of Rhodesian Home Rule or 'responsible government'.[29] Only 51 black Rhodesians qualified for the vote in 1923 (based upon property, assets, income and literacy) and it is unclear when the first black woman qualified for the vote.

Europe

Austria

After the revolution in 1848, the right to vote was bound to the ownership of property and thus paying of taxes. While it was also bound to being male, a small number of privileged women who owned property were actually allowed to vote as a result. In 1889 this "loophole" was closed in Lower Austria, which led some to mobilise for the struggle for political rights and the right to vote for women.

It was only after the breakdown of the Habsburg monarchy, that the new Austria would grant the general, equal, direct and secret right to vote to all citizens, regardless of sex in 1919. [30]

Belgium

Jane Brigode, Belgian suffragist, around 1910.

After a revision of the constitution in 1921 the general right to vote was introduced according to the "one man, one vote" principle. Women obtained voting rights at the municipal level. As an exception, widows of World War I were allowed to vote at the national level as well. The introduction of women's suffrage was already put onto the agenda at the time, by means of including an article in the constitution that allowed approval of women's suffrage by special law. This happened no sooner than after World War II, in 1948. In Belgium, people are obliged to appear at the polling station, however voting in itself is not mandatory.

Czech Republic

In the former Bohemia, taxpaying women and women in "learned profession" where allowed to vote by proxy and made eligible to the legislative body in 1864.[31] The general public obtained the right to vote and be elected, based on age but regardless of sex, when Czechoslovakia was established in 1918.

Denmark

In Denmark women were given the right to vote in municipal elections on April 20, 1909. However it was not until June 5, 1915 that they were allowed to vote in Rigsdag elections.[32]

Finland

13 of the total of 19 female MPs, who were the first female MPs in the world, elected in Finland's parliamentary elections in 1907.

Finland was a Swedish province until 1809, signifying that also women in Finland were allowed to vote during the Swedish age of liberty (1718–1771), when suffrage was granted to tax-paying female members of guilds[5]

The predecessor state of modern Finland, The Grand Principality of Finland was part of the Russian Empire from 1809 to 1917 and enjoyed a high degree of autonomy. In 1863, taxpaying women were granted municipal suffrage in the country side, and in 1872, the same reform was given to the cities[31] The Parliament Act in 1906 established the unicameral parliament of Finland and both women and men were given the right to vote and stand for election. Thus Finnish women became the first in the world to have unrestricted rights both to vote and to stand for parliament. In elections the next year, 19 female MPs, first ones in the world, were elected and women have continued to play a central role in the nation's politics ever since. Miina Sillanpää, a key figure in the worker's movement, became the first female minister in 1926.

Finland's first female President Tarja Halonen was voted into office in 2000 and for a second term in 2006. Since the 2011 parliamentary election, women's representation stands at 42,5%. In 2003 Anneli Jäätteenmäki became the first female Prime Minister of Finland, and in 2007 Matti Vanhanen's second cabinet made history as for the first time there were more women than men in the cabinet of Finland (12 vs. 8).

France

Suffrage was extended to women in France by the 21 April 1944 ordinance of the French provisional government.[33][34] The first elections with female participation were the municipal elections of 29 April 1945 and the parliamentary elections of 21 October 1945. "Indigenous Muslim" women in French Algeria had to wait until a 3 July 1958 decree.[35][36]

Germany

In Germany, women's suffrage was granted in the new constitution of the Weimar republic in 1919.

Italy

In Italy, women's suffrage was not introduced following the First World War, but upheld by Socialist and Fascist activists and partly introduced by Benito Mussolini's government in 1925.[37] Following the war, in the 1946 election, all Italians simultaneously voted for the Constituent Assembly and for a referendum about keeping Italy a monarchy or creating a republic instead. The elections weren't held in the Julian March and South Tyrol because they were under UN occupation.

Liechtenstein

In Liechtenstein, women's suffrage was granted via referendum in 1984.[38] Previously, referendums on the issue of women's suffrage had been held in 1968, 1971 and 1973.

Netherlands

Dutch Wilhelmina Drucker, pioneer for women's rights, is portrayed by Truus Claes in 1917 on the occasion of her seventieth birthday.

The group working for women’s suffrage in the Netherlands was the Dutch Vereeniging voor Vrouwenkiesrecht (Women’s Suffrage Association), founded in 1894. In 1917 Dutch women became electable in national elections, which led to the election of Suze Groeneweg of the SDAP party in the general elections of 1918. On the 15th of May 1919 a new law was drafted to allow women's suffrage without any limitations. The law was passed and the right to vote could be exercised for the first time in the general elections of 1922.

Voting was made mandatory from 1918, which was not lifted until 1970.

Norway

Middle class women could vote for the first time in 1907 (i.e. women coming from families with a certain level of prosperity). Women in general were allowed to vote in local elections from 1910 on, and in 1913 a motion on general suffrage for women was carried unanimously in the Norwegian parliament (Stortinget).

Poland

Poland in its first days after regaining of independence (1918) after the 123 year period of the Partitions of Poland (before 1795 tax-paying females were allowed to take part in political life), allowed voting rights to women, as well as rights to be elected, without any restrictions. Roza Pomerantz-Meltzer was the first woman elected to the Sejm in 1919 as a member of a Zionist party.[39][40]

Portugal

Carolina Beatriz Ângelo was the first Portuguese woman to vote, in 1911, for the Republican Constitutional Parliament. She argued that she was entitled to do so as she was the head of a household. The law was changed some time later, stating that only male heads of households could vote. In 1931, during the Estado Novo regime, women were allowed to vote for the first time, but only if they had a high school or university degree, while men had only to be able to read and write. In 1946, a new electoral law enlarged the possibility of female vote, but still with some differences regarding men. A law from 1968 claimed to establish "equality of political rights for men and women", but a few electoral rights were reserved for men. After the Carnation Revolution, in 1974, women were granted full and equal electoral rights.

Spain

In the Basque provinces of Biscay and Guipúzcoa women who paid a special election tax were allowed to vote and get elected to office till the abolition of the Basque Fueros.[citation needed] Nonetheless the possibility of being elected without the right to vote persisted, hence María Isabel de Ayala was elected mayor in Ikastegieta in 1865. Woman suffrage was officially adopted in 1931 not without the opposition of Margarita Nelken and Victoria Kent, two female MPs (both members of the Republican Radical-Socialist Party), who argued that women in Spain and at that time, were far too immature and ignorant to vote responsibly, thus putting at risk the existence of the Second Republic. During the Franco regime only women that were considered heads of household were allowed to vote; in the "organic democracy" type of elections called "referendums" (Franco's regime was dictatorial) women were allowed to vote.[41] From 1976, during the Spanish transition to democracy women fully exercised the right to vote and be elected to office.

Sweden

Swedish suffragist Signe Bergman, around 1910.

During the age of liberty (1718–1771), tax-paying female members of guilds (most often widows), were allowed to vote for over 50 years. Between 1726 and 1742, women took part in 30 percent of elections. New tax regulations made the participation of women in the elections even more extensive from 1743 onward.[5]

The vote was sometimes given through a male representative, which was one of the most prominent reasons cited by those in opposition to female suffrage. In 1758, women were excluded from mayoral and local elections, but continued to vote in national elections. In 1771, women's suffrage was abolished through the new constitution.[5]

In 1862, tax-paying women of legal majority (unmarried women and widows) were again allowed to vote in municipal elections. Thereby, Sweden became the first nation in the world to grant women the right to vote [31] The right to vote in municipal elections applied only to people of legal majority, which excluded married women, as they were juridically under the guardianship of their husbands. In 1884, the suggestion to grant women the right to vote in national elections was initially voted down in Parliament.[42] In 1902, the Swedish Society for Woman Suffrage was founded. A few years later in 1906, the suggestion of women's suffrage was voted down in parliament again.[43] However, the same year, in 1906, also married women were given municipal suffrage. In 1909, women were granted eligibility to municipal councils, and in the following 1910–11 municipal elections, 40 women were elected to different municipal councils, Hanna Lindberg one of them.[43]

Women were active in modern political organisations from the start. Several women reached notable political positions before the suffrage of 1919/21, such as Kata Dahlström, first woman in the Social Democratic executive committee in 1900, as well as Anna Sterky, chairman of the Women's Trade Union 1902–1907. In 1914, Emilia Broomé became the first woman in the legislative assembly.

The right to vote in national elections was not returned to women until 1919, and was practiced again in the election of 1921, for the first time in 150 years.[5] In the election of 1921 more women than men had the right to vote because women got the right just by turning 18 years old wile men had to undergo military service for the right to vote. In a decision 1921 men received the same right as women and this was practiced in the election of 1924.

After the 1921 election, the first women were elected to Swedish Parliament after the suffrage, Kerstin Hesselgren among them. In 1958, Ulla Lindström became the first acting Prime Minister.

Switzerland

The Swiss referendum on women's suffrage was held on 1 February 1959. The majority of Switzerland's men voted "no", but in some cantons women obtained the vote.[44] The first Swiss woman to hold political office, Trudy Späth-Schweizer, was elected to the municipal government of Riehen in 1958.[45]

Switzerland was the last Western republic to grant women's suffrage; although women could not vote in the Principality of Liechtenstein (governed under a constitutional monarchy) until 1984.[46] Women did not gain the right to vote in federal elections until 1971.[44] In 1991, following a decision by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland, Appenzell Innerrhoden became the last Swiss canton to grant women the vote on local issues.[47]

Turkey

In Turkey women were given the right to vote in municipal elections on March 20, 1930. Women's suffrage was achieved for parliament elections on December 5, 1934 by the constitutional amendment. Turkish women who participated for the parliament elections as a first time on February 8, 1935 obtained 18 seats.

United Kingdom

A British cartoon speculating on why imprisoned suffragettes refused to eat in prison

The campaign for women's suffrage gained momentum throughout the early part of the nineteenth century as women became increasingly politically active, particularly during the campaigns to reform suffrage in the United Kingdom. John Stuart Mill, elected to Parliament in 1865 and an open advocate of female suffrage (about to publish The Subjection of Women), campaigned for an amendment to the Reform Act to include female suffrage. Roundly defeated in an all male parliament under a Conservative government, the issue of women's suffrage came to the fore.

During the later half of the 19th century, a number of campaign groups were formed in an attempt to lobby Members of Parliament and gain support. In 1897, seventeen of these groups came together to form the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), who held public meetings, wrote letters to politicians and published various texts. In 1907, the NUWSS organized its first large procession. This march became known as the Mud March as over 3,000 women trudged through the cold and the rutty streets of London from Hyde Park to Exeter Hall to advocate for women’s suffrage.

In 1903, a number of members of the NUWSS broke away and, led by Emmeline Pankhurst, formed the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU). As the national media lost interest in the suffrage campaign, the WSPU decided it would use other methods to create publicity. This began in 1905 at a meeting where Sir Edward Grey, a member of the newly elected Liberal government, was speaking. As he was talking, two members of the WSPU constantly shouted out, 'Will the Liberal Government give votes to women?' When they refused to cease calling out, police were called to evict them and the two suffragettes (as members of the WSPU became known after this incident) were involved in a struggle which ended with them being arrested and charged for assault. When they refused to pay their fine, they were sent to prison. The British public were shocked and took notice at this use of violence to win the vote for women.

After this media success, the WSPU's tactics became increasingly violent. This included an attempt in 1908 to storm the House of Commons, the arson of David Lloyd George's country home (despite his support for women's suffrage). In 1909 Lady Constance Lytton was imprisoned, but immediately released when her identity was discovered, so in 1910 she disguised herself as a working class seamstress called Jane Warton and endured inhumane treatment which included force feeding. In 1913, Emily Davison, a suffragette, protested by interfering with a horse owned by King George V during the running of the Epsom Derby; she was trampled and died four days later. The WSPU ceased their militant activities during the First World War and agreed to assist with the war effort. Similarly, the NUWSS announced that they would cease political activity but continued to lobby discreetly throughout the First World War.

British historians no longer emphasize the granting of woman suffrage as a reward for women's participation in war work. Pugh (1974) argues that enfranchising soldiers primarily and women secondarily was decided by senior politicians in 1916. In the absence of major women's groups demanding for equal suffrage, the government's conference recommended limited, age-restricted women's suffrage. Specifically, the 1918 Qualification of Women Act enfranchised only women who were over the age of 30; providing they were householders, married to a householder or if they held a university degree. The suffragettes had been weakened, Pugh argues, by repeated failures before 1914 and by the disorganizing effects of war mobilization; therefore they quietly accepted these restrictions, which were approved in 1918 by a majority of the War Ministry and each political party in Parliament.[48] More generally, Searle (2004) argues that the British debate was essentially over by the 1890s, and that granting the suffrage in 1918 was mostly a byproduct of giving the vote to male soldiers. Not until 1928 with Representation of the People Act 1928 were women granted the right to vote on the same terms as men.[49]

In 1999 Time Magazine in naming Emmeline Pankhurst as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, states.."she shaped an idea of women for our time; she shook society into a new pattern from which there could be no going back".[50]

North America

Canada

Widows and unmarried women were granted the right to vote in municipal elections in Ontario in 1884. Such limited franchises were extended in other provinces at the end of the 19th century, but bills to enfranchise women in provincial elections failed to pass in any province until Manitoba finally succeeded in 1916. At the federal level it was a two step process. On Sept. 20, 1917, women gained a limited right to vote: According to the Parliament of Canada website, the Military Voters Act established that "women who are British subjects and have close relatives in the armed forces can vote on behalf of their male relatives, in federal elections." About a year and a quarter later, at the beginning of 1919, the right to vote was extended to all women in the Act to confer the Electoral Franchise upon Women. The remaining provinces quickly followed suit, except for Quebec, which did not do so until 1940. Agnes Macphail became the first woman elected to Parliament in 1921.

United States

Program for Woman Suffrage Procession, Washington, D. C., March 3, 1913

Lydia Chapin Taft was an early forerunner in Colonial America who was allowed to vote in three New England town meetings, beginning in 1756, at Uxbridge, Massachusetts.

Following the American Revolution, women were allowed to vote in New Jersey, but no other state, from 1790 until 1807, provided they met property requirements then in place. In 1807, women were again forbidden from voting in the state.

In June 1848, Gerrit Smith made women's suffrage a plank in the Liberty Party platform. In July, at the Seneca Falls Convention in Upstate New York, activists including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott began a seventy-year struggle by women to secure the right to vote. Attendees signed a document known as the Declaration of Rights and Sentiments, of which Stanton was the primary author. Equal rights became the rallying cry of the early movement for women's rights, and equal rights meant claiming access to all the prevailing definitions of freedom. In 1850, Lucy Stone organized a larger assembly with a wider focus, the National Women's Rights Convention in Worcester, Massachusetts. Susan B. Anthony, a native of Rochester, New York, joined the cause in 1852 after reading Stone's 1850 speech. Women's suffrage activists pointed out that blacks had been granted the franchise and had not been included in the language of the United States Constitution's Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments (which gave people equal protection under the law and the right to vote regardless of their race, respectively). This, they contended, had been unjust. Early victories were won in the territories of Wyoming (1869)[51] and Utah (1870), although Utah women were disenfranchised by provisions of the federal Edmunds–Tucker Act enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1887. The push to grant Utah women's suffrage was at least partially fueled by the belief that, given the right to vote, Utah women would dispose of polygamy. It was only after Utah women exercised their suffrage rights in favor of polygamy that the U.S. Congress disenfranchised Utah women.[52] By the end of the nineteenth century, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming had enfranchised women after effort by the suffrage associations at the state level.

Seal of Wyoming. The state motto, "Equal Rights", refers to Wyoming being the first territory to grant women's suffrage, in 1869

During the beginning of the twentieth century, as women's suffrage faced several important federal votes, a portion of the suffrage movement known as the National Women's Party and led by suffragette Carrie Chapman Catt then Alice Paul became the first "cause" to picket outside the White House. With this manner of protest, suffragists were subject to arrests and many were jailed.[53]

The key vote came on June 4 1919, when the Senate approved the amendment by 56 to 25 after four hours of debate, during which Democratic Senators opposed to the amendment filibustered to prevent a roll call until their absent Senators could be protected by pairs. The Ayes included 36 (82%) Republicans and 20 (54%) Democrats. The Nays comprised 8 (18%) Republicans and 17 (46%) Democrats. It was ratified by sufficient states in 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment, which prohibited state or federal gender-based restrictions on voting. [54]

Oceania

Australia

South Australian suffragette Catherine Helen Spence (1825-1910). South Australia granted women the vote in 1894.

The female descendants of the Bounty mutineers who lived on Pitcairn Islands could vote from 1838, and this right transferred with their resettlement to Norfolk Island (now an Australian external territory) in 1856.[4]

Propertied women in the colony of South Australia were granted the vote in local elections (but not parliamentary elections) in 1861. Henrietta Dugdale formed the first Australian women's suffrage society in Melbourne, Victoria in 1884. Women became eligible to vote for the Parliament of South Australia in 1894 and in 1897, Catherine Helen Spence became the first female political candidate for political office, unsuccessfully standing for election as a delegate to Federal Convention on Australian Federation. Western Australia granted voting rights to women in 1899.[14]

The first election for the Parliament of the newly formed Commonwealth of Australia in 1901 was based on the electoral provisions of the six pre-existing colonies, so that women who had the vote and the right to stand for Parliament at state level had the same rights for the 1901 Australian Federal election. In 1902, the Commonwealth Parliament passed the Commonwealth Franchise Act, which enabled all women to vote and stand for election for the Federal Parliament. Four women stood for election in 1903.[14] The Act did, however, specifically exclude 'natives' from Commonwealth franchise unless already enrolled in a state. In 1949, The right to vote in federal elections was extended to all Indigenous people who had served in the armed forces, or were enrolled to vote in state elections (Queensland, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory still excluded indigenous women from voting rights). Remaining restrictions were abolished in 1962 by the Commonwealth Electoral Act.[55]

Edith Cowan was elected to the West Australian Legislative Assembly in 1921, the first woman elected to any Australian Parliament. Dame Enid Lyons, in the Australian House of Representatives and Senator Dorothy Tangney became the fist women in the Federal Parliament in 1943. Lyons went on to be the first woman to hold a Cabinet post in the 1949 ministry of Robert Menzies. Edith Cowan was elected to the West Australian Legislative Assembly in 1921, the first woman elected to any Australian Parliament. Dame Enid Lyons, in the Australian House of Representatives and Senator Dorothy Tangney became the fist women in the Federal Parliament in 1943. Lyons went on to be the first woman to hold a Cabinet post in the 1949 ministry of Robert Menzies. Rosemary Follett was elected Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory in 1989, becoming the first woman elected to lead a state or territory. By 2010, the people of Australia's oldest city, Sydney had female leaders occupying every major political office above them, with Clover Moore as Lord Mayor, Kristina Keneally as Premier of New South Wales, Marie Bashir as Governor of New South Wales, Julia Gillard as Prime Minister, Quentin Bryce as Governor General of Australia and Elizabeth II as Queen of Australia.

Cook Islands

Women in Rarotonga were given the right to vote in 1893, shortly after New Zealand.[56]

New Zealand

New Zealand's Electoral Act of 19 September 1893 made this isolated outpost of the British Empire the first country in the world to grant women the right to vote in parliamentary elections.[4]

Women who owned property and paid rates (usually widows or 'spinsters') were allowed to vote in local government elections in Otago and Nelson from the year 1867 and this right was extended to the other provinces in 1876. Women in New Zealand were inspired to fight for universal voting rights by the equal-rights philosopher John Stuart Mill and the British feminists’ aggressiveness. In addition, the missionary efforts of the American-based Women’s Christian Temperance Union gave them the motivation to fight - and their efforts were supported by a number of important male politicians including John Hall, Robert Stout, Julius Vogel, and William Fox. In 1878, 1879, and 1887 amendments extending the vote to women failed by a hair each time. In 1893 the reformers at last succeeded in extending the franchise to women.

Although the Liberal government which passed the bill generally advocated social and political reform, the electoral bill was only passed because of a combination of personality issues and political accident. The bill granted the vote to women of all races. New Zealand women were not given the right to stand for parliament, however, until 1919. In 2005, almost a third of the Members of Parliament elected were female. Women recently have also occupied powerful and symbolic offices such as those of Prime Minister, Governor-General, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and between 2005, and 2006, all three of these posts were held by women. New Zealand's first chief justice, Sian Elias is also a woman.

Woman suffrage in religions

Catholicism

The Pope is only elected by the College of Cardinals.[57] Women are not appointed as cardinals, so women cannot vote for the Pope.[58]

Hinduism

A color photo of a young Western woman dressed in sari and an Indian Swami in the forefront
American-born Malati Dasi became one of the most vocal suffragettes fighting for equal participation rights for female followers of ISKCON, a Vaishnava branch of Hinduism. Malati Dasi pictured accompanying ISKCON's founder Prabhupada on a morning walk in Vrindavan, UP (India) in 1975.

Within Hinduism, ISKCON's founder A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada openly appreciated, encouraged, and supported his female followers in their diverse roles within ISKCON on par with men, and even recommended two women to be named founding members of ISKCON's highest international ecclesiastical and managerial body, the Governing Body Commission (GBC).[59] Prabhupada also defended the active involvement of his female followers in ISKCON's spiritual and managerial activities from critics, which included some traditional Gaudiya Matha members and other orthodox followers of Hinduism in India.[59]

Towards the end of the 1970s, however, the growth in number and influence of sannyasis (male lifelong celibates) in ISKCON's spiritual and managerial affairs led to greater male domination of the organization, and the consequent segregation, disempowerment, and denigration of women, who were denied access to prominent roles in ISKCON.[60][61] In late 1980s, criticism of the treatment of women within ISKCON and the discrimination against them in the institution's key activities began to take shape in the form of printed articles and women conventions.[62]

In the mid-1990s, Malati Dasi played a leading role in efforts to ensure equality for women in the organization and helped form ISKCON Women's Ministry in 1997, headed by Sudharma Dasi.[62] Malati became a vocal suffragette within ISKCON, which led to her "fiercely debated but historic appointment" as the first female member of the Governing Body Commission of ISKCON in 1998.[60][63][64] Her and Sudharma's presence on the GBC raised the issue of women in the organization for serious discussion at the GBC's annual meeting in Mayapur (West Bengal, India) in 2000, and called for "an apology for the mistakes of the past, recognition of the importance of women for the health of the movement, and the reinstatement of women's participatory rights."[64] The resultant resolution of the GBC acknowledged the importance of the issue and asserted the priority of providing "equal facilities, full encouragement, and genuine care and protection for the women members of ISKCON."[63][64]

Judaism

Women are denied the vote and the ability to be elected to positions of authority in many Orthodox Jewish synagogues and religious organizations.[65][66][67]

Women's suffrage denied or conditioned

  •  Brunei—Women and men have been revoked the right to vote or to stand for a national legislative election since 1962. Only in local elections are they permitted.[68]
  •  Lebanon—Proof of elementary education is required for women but not for men, while voting is compulsory for men but optional for women.[69]
  •  Saudi Arabia—Women were not given the right to vote or to stand for the local election in 2005, although suffrage was slated to possibly be granted by 2009,[70][71][72] then set for later in 2011, but suffrage was not granted either of those times.[73] In late September, 2011, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, declared that women would be able to vote and run for office starting in 2015.[27]
  •  United Arab Emirates—Limited suffrage (for both men and women), but it gradually expanded in the recent election held in 2011.[74]
  •  Vatican City/Holy See (See above under Women's suffrage#Catholicism)

See also

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References

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Further reading

  • DuBois, Ellen Carol, Harriot Stanton Blatch and the Winning of Woman Suffrage (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1997) ISBN 0-300-06562-0
  • Flexner, Eleanor, Century of Struggle: The Woman's Rights Movement in the United States, enlarged edition with Foreword by Ellen Fitzpatrick (1959, 1975; Cambridge and London: The Belknap Press of the Harvard University Press, 1996) ISBN 0-674-10653-9
  • Kenney, Annie, Memories of a Militant' (London: Edwin Arnold, 1924)
  • Lloyd, Trevor, Suffragettes International: The Worldwide Campaign for Women's Rights (New York: American Heritage Press, 1971).
  • Lowry, D. (1997) ‘White woman’s’ country: Ethel Tawse Jollie and the Making of White Rhodesia, Journal of Southern African Studies, 23(2), pp. 259–281.
  • Mackenzie, Midge, Shoulder to Shoulder: A Documentary (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1975). ISBN 0-394-73070-4
  • Raeburn, Antonia, Militant Suffragettes (London: New English Library, 1973)
  • Stevens, Doris, edited by Carol O'Hare, Jailed for Freedom: American Women Win the Vote (1920; Troutdale, OR: NewSage Press, 1995). ISBN 0-939165-25-2
  • Wheeler, Marjorie Spruill, editor, One Woman, One Vote: Rediscovering the Woman Suffrage Movement (Troutdale, OR: NewSage Press, 1995) ISBN 0-939165-26-0

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