Timeline of women's suffrage

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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]

The Australian Commonwealth Franchise Act of 1902 enabled women to vote at federal elections and also permitted women to stand for election to the Australian Parliament, making the newly-federated country of Australia the first in the modern world to do so. In 1906, the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland, which became the republic of Finland, was the second country in the world to implement both the right to vote and the right to run for office. Finland was also the first country 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[edit]


18th century[edit]


  •  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]




19th century[edit]

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.[16]
  •  Argentina: limited to local elections, only for literate women in San Luis Province



  •  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.[17]
  •  Kingdom of Bohemia – Austrian Empire: 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.[16]




  • United States – incorporated Utah Territory, which had previously granted women's suffrage: this was repealed as part of the Edmunds–Tucker Act in 1887.
  • May 10, 1872, New York City: Equal Rights Party nominates Victoria C. Woodhull as their candidate for US President.



  •  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").[23] 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.[1]



  • 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 (US 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[edit]







The first female MPs in the world were elected in Finland in 1907
The argument over women's rights in Victoria was lampooned in this Melbourne Punch cartoon of 1887





  •  California (US 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 successfully, 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)[46]
  •  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)[52]
  •  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)[53][54]




































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













  •  Namibia (Namibia never held an election until 1989. Namibia gained independence from the South African government in 1990.)






21st century[edit]








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.[77] 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.[75]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]