Timeline of women's suffrage

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The first female MPs in the world were elected in Finland in 1907
Women's suffrage in the world in 1908
Suffrage parade, New York City, May 6, 1912

Women's suffrage – the right of women to vote – has been achieved at various times in countries throughout the world. In many nations, women's suffrage was granted before universal suffrage, so women and men from certain classes or races were still unable to vote. Some countries granted suffrage to both sexes at the same time. This timeline lists years when women's suffrage was enacted. Some countries are listed more than once, as the right was extended to more women according to age, land ownership, etc. In many cases, the first voting took place in a subsequent year.

Some women in the Isle of Man (geographically part of the British Isles but not part of the United Kingdom) gained the right to vote in 1881[1]. Though it did not achieve nationhood until 1907, the colony of New Zealand was the first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in, but not to stand for, parliamentary elections in 1893, followed closely by the colony of South Australia in 1894 (which, unlike New Zealand, allowed women to stand for Parliament).[2] In Sweden, conditional women's suffrage was granted during the age of liberty between 1718 and 1772.[3]

In 1906, the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland, which became the republic of Finland, was the first country in the world to implement truly universal full suffrage, i.e. both active and passive suffrage, by being the first country in the world to give women full political rights, i.e. the rights both to vote and to run for office. It was the second country in the world and the first in Europe to give women the right to vote.[4][5] The world's first female members of parliament were elected in Finland the following year. In Europe, the last jurisdiction to grant women the right to vote was the Swiss canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden (AI), in 1991; AI is the smallest Swiss canton with c. 14,100 inhabitants in 1990.[6] Women in Switzerland obtained the right to vote at federal level in 1971,[7] and at local cantonal level between 1959 and 1972, except for Appenzell in 1989/1990,[8] see Women's suffrage in Switzerland. In Saudi Arabia women were first allowed to vote in December 2015 in the municipal elections.[9]

For other women's rights, see timeline of women's legal rights (other than voting).

17th century


18th century


  •  Sweden: Female taxpaying members of city guilds are allowed to vote in local city elections (rescinded in 1758) and national elections (rescinded in 1772):


  •  Sweden: Female taxpaying property owners of legal majority are allowed to vote in local countryside elections (never rescinded).[3]


  •  Corsica: Female suffrage in the independent republic's Diet (assembly; rescinded upon annexation by France in 1769)[11]



19th century

Portrait of an unknown New Zealand suffragette, Charles Hemus Studio Auckland, c. 1880—the sitter wears a white camellia and has cut off her hair, both symbolic of support for advancing women's rights







  •  Sweden: limited to local elections with votes graded after taxation; universal franchise achieved in 1919, which went into effect at the 1921 elections.[15]



Statue of Esther Hobart Morris in front of the Wyoming State Capitol
  •  Victoria - Australian colony of Victoria: women were unintentionally enfranchised by the Electoral Act (1863), and proceeded to vote in the following year's elections. The Act was amended in 1865 to correct the error.[16]
  •  Kingdom of Bohemia: limited to taxpaying women and women in "learned professions" who were allowed to vote by proxy and made eligible for election to the legislative body in 1864.[15]






  •  Isle of Man (self-governing British Crown dependency, with its own parliament and legal system) (limited at first to women “freeholders” and then, a few years’ later, extended to include women “householders”).[22]. Universal suffrage / the franchise for all resident men and women was introduced in 1919. All men and women (with a very few exceptions such as clergy) could also stand for election from 1919[23].



  • United States - Proposed Constitutional Amendment to extend suffrage and the right to hold office to women (limited to spinsters and widows who owned property).[25]




  •  New Zealand (first self-governing colony in the world in which all women are given the right to vote in parliamentary elections. However, women were barred from standing for election until 1919).[27][28]
  •  Cook Islands (British protectorate) universal suffrage.[29]
  •  Colorado (U.S. state) (first state in the union to enfranchise women by popular vote)[30]



  •  South Australia : South Australian women became the first in the world to stand for election.[31][32][33] This right had been granted the previous year in an act of the South Australian Parliament.



20th century







The first female MPs in the world were elected in Finland in 1907
  • Russia Grand Duchy of Finland ( Russian Empire) (first in the world to give women full political rights, i.e. both the right to vote and to run for office, first in Europe to give women the right to vote).[4][5] The world's first female members of parliament were elected in Finland the following year.
  •  New Hebrides: Perhaps inspired by the Franceville experiment, the Anglo-French Condominium of the New Hebrides grants women the right to vote in municipal elections and to serve on elected municipal councils. (Limited to British, French, and other colonists, and excluding indigenous women.)[36]
The argument over women's rights in Victoria was lampooned in this Melbourne Punch cartoon of 1887





  •  California (U.S. state)
  •  Argentina: Julieta Lanteri, doctor and leading feminist activist, votes in the election for the Buenos Aires City Legislature. She had realized that the government did not make specifications regarding gender, and appealed to justice succesfully, becoming the first South American woman to vote.
  •  Portugal: Carolina Beatriz Ângelo becomes the first Portuguese woman to vote due to a legal technicality; the law is shortly thereafter altered to specify only literate male citizens over the age of 21 had the right to vote.





This map appeared in the magazine Puck during the Empire State Campaign, a hard-fought referendum on a suffrage amendment to the New York State constitution—the referendum failed in 1915











  •  Italy (limited to local elections)
  •  Dominion of Newfoundland (limited to women 25 and older; men can vote at age 21. Equal suffrage granted in 1946.)




  •  Romania (limited to local elections only, with restrictions)[40]
  •  Puerto Rico (literate women given the right to vote. Equal suffrage granted in 1935.)
  •  Ecuador (the right of women to vote is written into the Constitution)




  •  Ceylon
  •  Chile (limited to municipal level for female owners of real estate under Legislative Decree No. 320)
  •  Portugal (with restrictions following level of education)
  •  Spain (universal suffrage)







  •  El Salvador (with restrictions requiring literacy and a higher age)[45]
  •  Romania (women are granted suffrage on equal terms with men with restrictions on both men and women; in practice the restrictions affected women more than men)[46][47]




  •  Dutch East Indies (limited to European women only)
  •  Panama (with restrictions. Full suffrage granted in 1946.)

































  •  Bangladesh (suffrage enshrined in constitution adopted after independence. (For pre 1971 rights see British Raj 1935 and Pakistan 1947)













  •  Namibia *It should be taken into consideration that Namibia never held an election until 1989. Namibia gained independence from the South African government in 1990.






21st century








Note: in some countries both men and women have limited suffrage. For example, in Brunei, which is a sultanate, there are no national elections, and voting exists only on local issues.[69] In the United Arab Emirates the rulers of the seven emirates each select a proportion of voters for the Federal National Council (FNC) that together account for about 12% of Emirati citizens.[67]

See also


  1. ^ http://www.tynwald.org.im/education/women/Pages/VotesForWomen.aspx
  2. ^ 'New Zealand women and the vote', URL: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/politics/womens-suffrage, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 17 July 2014.
  3. ^ a b Karlsson Sjögren, Åsa, Männen, kvinnorna och rösträtten: medborgarskap och representation 1723-1866 [Men, women and suffrage: citizenship and representation 1723-1866], Carlsson, Stockholm, 2006 (in Swedish)
  4. ^ a b Brief history of the Finnish Parliament
  5. ^ a b Centenary of women's full political rights in Finland
  6. ^ "Bilanz der ständigen Wohnbevölkerung nach Kanton, 1991-2016" (XLS) (official site). Neuchâtel, Switzerland: Federal Statistical Office, FSO. 30 August 2017. Retrieved 2018-05-07. 
  7. ^ Bonnie G. Smith, ed. (2008). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History. Oxford University Press. pp. 171 vol 1. ISBN 9780195148909. 
  8. ^ "Women dominate new Swiss cabinet". BBC News. 
  9. ^ Photograph Tasneem Alsultan, National Geographic. "In a Historic Election, Saudi Women Cast First-Ever Ballots". 
  10. ^ *Wierdsma Schik, P. (1857). "Akademisch proefschrift over de staatsregtelijke geschiedenis der Staten van Friesland van 1581 tot 1795". Google Books (in Dutch). W. Eekhoff. p. 18. Retrieved 11 June 2018. 
  11. ^ Lucien Felli, "La renaissance du Paolisme". M. Bartoli, Pasquale Paoli, père de la patrie corse, Albatros, 1974, p. 29. "Il est un point où le caractère précurseur des institutions paolines est particulièrement accusé, c'est celui du suffrage en ce qu'il était entendu de manière très large. Il prévoyait en effet le vote des femmes qui, à l'époque, ne votaient pas en France."
  12. ^ Lydia Chapin Taft Biography Women's Suffrage by Frances Stanford | Humanities 360
  13. ^ "Women and the vote: Page 5 – World suffrage timeline". Nzhistory.net.nz. New Zealand History. Retrieved 12 October 2015. 
  14. ^ M C Mirrow, Latin American Constitutionalism: The Constitution of Cadiz and its legacy
  15. ^ a b c P. Orman Ray: Woman Suffrage in Foreign Countries. The American Political Science Review. Vol. 12, No. 3 (Aug., 1918), pp. 469-474
  16. ^ "Women in Parliament – Parliament of Victoria". Parliament.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-05-06. 
  17. ^ a b "Female Suffrage before 1918", The History of the Parliamentary Franchise, House of Commons Library, 1 March 2013, pp. 37–9, retrieved 16 March 2016, by 1900 the number of women registered for the local government franchise in England was over 1 million 
  18. ^ a b Heater, Derek (2006). Citizenship in Britain: A History. Edinburgh University Press. p. 136. ISBN 9780748626724. 
  19. ^ "Women's rights". The National Archives. Retrieved 11 February 2015. 
  20. ^ a b "Which Act Gave Women the Right to Vote in Britain?". Synonym. Retrieved 11 February 2015. 
  21. ^ Rea, Tom. "Right Choice, Wrong Reasons: Wyoming women win the right to vote". wyohistory.org. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  22. ^ Myers, Rebecca (28 May 2013). "General History of Women's Suffrage in Britain". The Independent. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  23. ^ http://www.tynwald.org.im/education/women/Pages/VotesForWomen.aspx
  24. ^ "Canada-WomensVote-WomenSuffrage". Faculty.marianopolis.edu. 1916-01-27. Retrieved 2013-05-06. 
  25. ^ United States House of Representatives (1888-04-30). "House Joint Resolution (H.J. Res.) 159, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution to Extend the Right to Vote to Widows and Spinsters who are Property Holders". National Archives Catalog. National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved 29 July 2016. 
  26. ^ "Wee, Small Republics: A Few Examples of Popular Government," Hawaiian Gazette, Nov 1, 1895, p 1
  27. ^ 'New Zealand women and the vote', URL: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/politics/womens-suffrage, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 17-Jul-2014
  28. ^ a b c Women's Suffrage
  29. ^ 'World suffrage timeline', URL: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/politics/womens-suffrage/world-suffrage-timeline, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 5-Aug-2015
  30. ^ Chapin, Laura (21 August 2010). "Colorado Led the Way on Women's Suffrage". usnews.com. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  31. ^ a b Alan Fenna; Jane Robbins; John Summers (5 September 2013). Government Politics in Australia. Pearson Higher Education AU. pp. 312–. ISBN 978-1-4860-0138-5. 
  32. ^ a b August Bebel (12 November 2014). Woman and Socialism (English Edition). Socialist Literature Company. pp. 196–. GGKEY:PAF3FSJXP21. 
  33. ^ a b Frances Maule; Annie Gertrude Webb Porritt (1917). Woman Suffrage: History, Arguments, and Results : a Collection of Six Popular Booklets Covering Practically the Entire Field of Suffrage Claims and Evidence : Designed Especially for the Convenience of Suffrage Speakers and Writers and for the Use of Debaters and Libraries. National Woman Suffrage Publishing Company. 
  34. ^ "Constitution of the State of Utah (Article IV Section 1)". 1896-01-04. 
  35. ^ Documenting a Democracy, Museum of Australian Democracy, retrieved 13 October 2011 
  36. ^ Bourdiol, Julien (1908), Condition internationale des Nouvelles-Hebrides, p 106
  37. ^ Pipes, Richard (1997). The Formation of the Soviet Union: Communism and Nationalism, 1917-1923. Harvard University Press. p. 81. ISBN 9780674309517. 
  38. ^ See article 4 of the 1918 constitution of the R.S.F.S.R..
  39. ^ Lewis, Jone Johnson. "International Woman Suffrage Timeline". About.com. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  40. ^ Popescu, Camelia. "Lupta pentru dreptul de vot feminin în România interbelică". Historia.ro. Adevărul Holding. Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  41. ^ "This Day in World History: February 6, 1935 – Turkey Holds First Election That Allows Women to Vote". OUP Blog. 
  42. ^ "This Day in World History: February 6, 1935 – Turkey Holds First Election That Allows Women to Vote". OUP Blog. 
  43. ^ "Local Government (Extension of Franchise) Act, 1935, Section 2". Irish Statute Book. Retrieved 4 November 2017. ; O'Kelly, Seán T. (1 June 1933). authoring/DebatesWebPack.nsf/takes/dail1933060100021 "Local Government (Extension of Franchise) Bill, 1933.—Second Stage" Check |url= value (help). Dáil Éireann Debates. Vol.47 No.18 p.21 cc.2301–2303. Retrieved 4 November 2017. The qualifications are to be found in the Representation of the People Act, 1918, and except for an alteration in the qualifying date there has been no change in the law in respect of this franchise.... The Bill extends local government franchise to every person who is a citizen of Saorstát Eireann who has attained the age of 21 years and is not subject to legal incapacity 
  44. ^ Fraser, Hugh (1918). "Franchises (women)". The Representation of the people act, 1918 : with explanatory notes. London: Sweet and Maxwell. pp. 73–76. 
  45. ^ a b http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/Pnabu661.pdf
  46. ^ a b "Summary: Rights to Vote in Romania". Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  47. ^ "CONSTITUŢIA: României din 1938". Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  48. ^ "The Evolution of Bermuda's Franchise". Parliamentary Registry Bermuda. 
  49. ^ a b http://www.idea.int/publications/wip/upload/montenegro-CS-Guatemala.pdf
  50. ^ (in Italian) Extension to the women of the right to vote Archived 2008-05-26 at the Wayback Machine.
  51. ^ "Women's Suffrage". Ipu.org. 1997-05-23. Retrieved 2013-05-06. 
  52. ^ Gregory Hammond, The Women's Suffrage Movement and Feminism in Argentina From Roca to Peron (U of New Mexico Press; 2011)
  53. ^ The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  54. ^ http://www.everyculture.com/Ma-Ni/Netherlands-Antilles.html
  55. ^ http://www.banrepcultural.org/blaavirtual/linea-de-tiempo/voto-mujer-frente-nacional
  56. ^ "El Voto Feminino en Ecuador, published 6 April 1991, accessed 1 November 2010". Hoy.com.ec. 2011-10-14. Retrieved 2013-05-06. 
  57. ^ a b Women's Suffrage
  58. ^ Darwish, Adel (October 25, 2002). "Bahrain's women vote for first time". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  59. ^ http://www.idea.int/publications/voter_turnout_weurope/upload/chapter%204.pdf
  60. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/womanshour/timeline/votes_to_women.shtml
  61. ^ a b African Women and Children. Apollo Rwormie. 2001. ISBN 9780275962180. 
  62. ^ a b "Woman Suffrage Timeline International – Winning the Vote Around the World". Womenshistory.about.com. 1908-04-25. Retrieved 2013-05-06. 
  63. ^ http://www.refworld.org/docid/47387b6fc.html
  64. ^ https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/1999/qatar
  65. ^ "Kuwait grants women right to vote". CNN. May 16, 2005. Retrieved 13 April 2014. 
  66. ^ "Full Text of Iraqi Constitution". Washington Post. October 12, 2005. Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
  67. ^ a b https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ae.html
  68. ^ "Women in Saudi Arabia 'to vote and run in elections'". BBC News. London. September 25, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  69. ^ https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/bx.html
  • https://web.archive.org/web/20070610120752/http://www.hist.uu.se/historikermote05/program/Politik/52_Karlsson_Sjogren.pdf
  • www.iraqinationality.gov.iq/attach/iraqi_constitution.pdf

External links

  • Google Spreadsheet with map—above timeline data has been tabulated and can be viewed on a world map for any given year.
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