When did women win the right to vote?

Women have been fighting for equal rights for over a century. Here are some of the landmark moments on the road to suffrage

1893 - New Zealand

New Zealand became the first self-governing country to grant the vote to all women. Years of campaigning resulted in a petition signed by over 30,000 women and the passing of the Electoral Act 1893. However, women would not gain the right to stand for parliament until 1919.

1906 - Grand Duchy of Finland

Over 100 years ago, Finland’s electoral system was radically reformed, with both men and women given unrestricted rights to vote and stand for election. Prior to this the majority of adults didn’t qualify for suffrage.

1918 - United Kingdom

British suffragettes were fiercely campaigning for women’s rights under the motto ‘Deeds not Words’ prior to WWI. The Representation of the People Bill was passed in 1918, giving women over the age of 30 who held property the right to vote. Their rights were far from equal though, as men could vote from the age of 21, but it marked the start of women’s suffrage in the UK.

1920 - United States

There were many women’s rights groups in America, and different states granted suffrage at different times. It wasn’t until the 19th amendment to the US Constitution that suffrage was declared every citizen’s right.

1928 - United Kingdom

The Equal Franchise Act awarded women and men aged 21 the right to vote. It was the result of many factors, including changing attitudes, suffrage campaigns and the example set by other countries.

1931 - Spain

Strangely, Spanish women could stand for parliament but couldn’t vote until 1931, and they didn’t achieve full suffrage until 1976.

1945 - France

In 1848, France became one of the first European countries to grant universal male suffrage, but women’s rights came much later. They submitted their votes in the first general election since France had been liberated in WWII.

1946 - Japan

Men were awarded suffrage in 1924, but women were not. In fact they didn’t receive equal rights until after WWII.

1953 - Mexico

The decree recognising the full citizenship of Mexican women was published after decades of fighting for equal rights.

1956 - Pakistan

It wasn’t until 1956 that women were allowed to vote and seats in government were reserved specifically for females.

1964 - Afghanistan

Women gained voting rights after the country won independence in 1919, but this was later overturned and not reinstated until 1964.

1971 - Switzerland

Women gained voting rights after the country won independence in 1919, but this was later overturned and not reinstated until 1964.


This article was originally published in How It Works issue 112 written by Jody Tyley


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