Timeline of women's suffrage

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Women's suffrage in the world in 1908 Women's Suffrage 1908.jpg
Women's suffrage in the world in 1908
Suffrage parade, New York City, May 6, 1912 Youngest parader in New York City suffragist parade LCCN97500068 (cropped).jpg
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, in which cases women and men from certain socioeconomic 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]

New Zealand was the first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections; from 1893. [2] However women could not stand for election to parliament until 1919, when three women stood (unsuccessfully); see 1919 in New Zealand.

The colony of South Australia allowed women to both vote and stand for election in 1894. [3] In Sweden, conditional women's suffrage was granted during the age of liberty between 1718 and 1772. [4] But it was not until the year 1919 that equality was achieved, where women's votes were valued the same as men's.

The Australian Commonwealth Franchise Act 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, although some states excluded indigenous Australians.

In 1906, the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland, which later became the Republic of Finland, was the first country in the world to give all women and all men 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. [5] [6] 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. Appenzell Innerrhoden is the smallest Swiss canton with around 14,100 inhabitants in 1990. [7] Women in Switzerland obtained the right to vote at federal level in 1971, [8] and at local cantonal level between 1959 and 1972, except for Appenzell in 1989/1990, [9] see Women's suffrage in Switzerland.

In Saudi Arabia, women were first allowed to vote in December 2015 in the municipal elections. [10]

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

17th century


18th century





19th century

Portrait of an unknown New Zealand suffragette by 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 New Zealand Suffragette.jpg
Portrait of an unknown New Zealand suffragette by 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















Statue of Esther Hobart Morris in front of the Wyoming State Capitol DSCN5264 wyomingcapitolmorrisstatue e.jpg
Statue of Esther Hobart Morris in front of the Wyoming State Capitol










Kate Sheppard National Memorial, Christchurch, New Zealand Tribute to the Suffragettes, Christchurch, NZ.jpg
Kate Sheppard National Memorial, Christchurch, New Zealand






20th century







The first female MPs in the world were elected in Finland in 1907. First Female Parliamentarians in the world in Finland in 1907.jpg
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. Women suffrage cartoon.png
The argument over women's rights in Victoria was lampooned in this Melbourne Punch cartoon of 1887.









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. Henry Mayer, The Awakening, 1915 Cornell CUL PJM 1176 01 - Restoration.jpg
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.




















First women electors of Brazil. Primeiras eleitoras do Brasil.jpg
First women electors of Brazil.


Eighteen female MPs joined the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in 1935. First female MPs of the Turkish Parliament (1935).jpg
Eighteen female MPs joined the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in 1935.
























































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. [104] 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.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Suffrage</span> Right to vote in public and political elections

Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise is the right to vote in public, political elections and referendums. In some languages, and occasionally in English, the right to vote is called active suffrage, as distinct from passive suffrage, which is the right to stand for election. The combination of active and passive suffrage is sometimes called full suffrage.

Women's suffrage is the right of women to vote in elections. In the beginning of the 18th century, some people sought to change voting laws to allow women to vote. Liberal political parties would go on to grant women the right to vote, increasing the number of those parties' potential constituencies. National and international organizations formed to coordinate efforts towards women voting, especially the International Woman Suffrage Alliance.

Universal suffrage ensures the right to vote for as many people who are bound by a government's laws as possible, as supported by the "one person, one vote" principle. For many, the term universal suffrage assumes the exclusion of youth and non-citizens, while some insist that much more inclusion is needed before suffrage can be called universal. Democratic theorists, especially those hoping to achieve more universal suffrage, support presumptive inclusion, where the legal system would protect the voting rights of all subjects unless the government can clearly prove that disenfranchisement is necessary.

Elections in South Africa are held for the National Assembly, provincial legislatures and municipal councils. Elections follow a five-year cycle, with national and provincial elections held simultaneously and municipal elections held two years later. The electoral system is based on party-list proportional representation, which means that parties are represented in proportion to their electoral support. For municipal councils there is a mixed-member system in which wards elect individual councillors alongside those named from party lists.

First-wave feminism was a period of feminist activity and thought that occurred during the 19th and early 20th century throughout the Western world. It focused on legal issues, primarily on securing women's right to vote. The term is often used synonymously with the kind of feminism espoused by the liberal women's rights movement with roots in the first wave, with organizations such as the International Alliance of Women and its affiliates. This feminist movement still focuses on equality from a mainly legal perspective.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Elections in Saudi Arabia</span>

Elections in Saudi Arabia are rare. Municipal elections were last held in 2015, the first time women had the right to vote and stand as candidates.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902</span> Australian suffrage law

The Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902(Cth) was an Act of the Parliament of Australia which set out who was entitled to vote in Australian federal elections. The Act established, in time for the 1903 Australian federal election, suffrage for federal elections for those who were British subjects over 21 years of age who had lived in Australia for six months. The Act excluded natives of Australia, Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands (other than New Zealand) from the federal franchise, unless they were already enrolled to vote in an Australian state. The Act gave Australian women the right to vote and stand for parliament at the federal level unless they fell into one of the categories of people excluded from the franchise.

Government in Australia is elected by universal suffrage and Australian women participate in all levels of the government of the nation. In 1902, the newly formed Commonwealth of Australia became the first nation on earth to enact equal suffrage, enabling women to both vote and stand for election alongside men Women have been represented in Australian state parliaments since 1921, and in the Federal Parliament since 1943. The first female leader of an Australian State or Territory was elected in 1989, and the first female Prime Minister took office in 2010. In 2019 for the first time, a majority of members of the Australian Senate were women. At the time of its foundation in 1901, and again from 1952 to 2022, Australia has had a female monarch as ceremonial Head of State, while the first female Governor of an Australian State was appointed in 1991, and the first female Governor-General of Australia took office in 2008.

Suffrage, the right to vote, is often extended to non-citizens. This right varies widely by place in terms of which non-citizens are allowed to vote and in which elections, though there has been a trend over the last 30 years to enfranchise more non-citizens, especially in Europe.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Timeline of first women's suffrage in majority-Muslim countries</span> List of the dates of the first womens suffrage in Muslim majority countries

This timeline lists the dates of the first women's suffrage in Muslim majority countries. Dates for the right to vote, suffrage, as distinct from the right to stand for election and hold office, are listed.

The voting rights of Indigenous Australians became an issue from the mid-19th century, when responsible government was being granted to Britain's Australian colonies, and suffrage qualifications were being debated. The resolution of universal rights progressed into the mid-20th century.

Black suffrage refers to black people's right to vote and has long been an issue in countries established under conditions of black minorities.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Women's suffrage in Australia</span>

Women's suffrage in Australia was one of the early achievements of Australian democracy. Following the progressive establishment of male suffrage in the Australian colonies from the 1840s to the 1890s, an organised push for women's enfranchisement gathered momentum from the 1880s, and began to be legislated from the 1890s, decades in advance of Europe and North America. South Australian women achieved the right to vote in 1894, and to stand for office in 1895 following the world first Constitutional Amendment Act 1894. This preceded even male suffrage in Tasmania. Western Australia granted women the right to vote from 1899, although with some racial restrictions. In 1902, the newly established Australian Parliament passed the Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902, which set a uniform law enabling women to vote at federal elections and to stand for the federal parliament. By 1908, the remaining Australian states had legislated for women's suffrage for state elections. Grace Benny was elected as the first councillor in 1919, Edith Cowan the first state Parliamentarian in 1921, Dorothy Tangney the first Senator and Enid Lyons the first Member of the House of Representatives in 1943.

Suffrage in Australia is the voting rights in the Commonwealth of Australia, its six component states and territories, and local governments. The colonies of Australia began to grant universal male suffrage from 1856, with women's suffrage following between the 1890s and 1900s. Some jurisdictions introduced racial restrictions on voting from 1885. Such restrictions had been eradicated by the 1960s. Today, the right to vote at all levels of government is held by citizens of Australia over the age of 18 years.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Women's suffrage in Canada</span> History of womens right to vote in Canada

Women's suffrage in Canada occurred at different times in different jurisdictions to different demographics of women. Women's right to vote began in the three prairie provinces. In 1916, suffrage was earned by women in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. The federal government granted limited war-time suffrage to some women in 1917 and followed with full suffrage in 1918, at least, granting it on same basis as men, that is, certain races and status were excluded from voting in federal elections prior to 1960.

This is a listing of noteworthy historical events relating to the international women's movement which occurred in 1919.

Women's suffrage in the Spanish Second Republic period was the result of efforts dating back to the mid-1800s. Women and men working towards universal suffrage had to combat earlier feminist goals that prioritized social goals, including access to education, political rights such as a woman's right to vote and equal wages. As a middle class developed and women gained more access to education, they began to focus more on the issue of suffrage but this was often around specific ideological philosophies; it was not tied into a broader working class movement calling for women's emancipation.

The Women's suffrage movement in India fought for Indian women's right to political enfranchisement in Colonial India under British rule. Beyond suffrage, the movement was fighting for women's right to stand for and hold office during the colonial era. In 1918, when Britain granted limited suffrage to women property holders, the law did not apply to British citizens in other parts of the Empire. Despite petitions presented by women and men to the British commissions sent to evaluate Indian voting regulations, women's demands were ignored in the Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms. In 1919, impassioned pleas and reports indicating support for women to have the vote were presented by suffragists to the India Office and before the Joint Select Committee of the House of Lords and Commons, who were meeting to finalize the electoral regulation reforms of the Southborough Franchise Committee. Though they were not granted voting rights, nor the right to stand in elections, the Government of India Act 1919 allowed Provincial Councils to determine if women could vote, provided they met stringent property, income, or educational levels.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Voting rights in Nigeria</span> Overview of voting rights in Nigeria

The history of voting rights in Nigeria mirrors the complexity of the nation itself.

<i>Constitutional Amendment (Adult Suffrage) Act 1894</i> Act of the Parliament of South Australia

The Constitutional Amendment Act 1894 was an Act of the Parliament of South Australia to amend the South Australian Constitution Act 1856 to include women's suffrage. It was the seventh attempt to introduce voting rights for women and received widespread public support including the largest petition ever presented to the South Australian parliament. The proposed legislation was amended during debate to include the right of women to stand for parliament after an opponent miscalculated that such a provision would cause the bill to be defeated. Once passed, South Australia become the fourth state in the world to give women the vote and the first to give women the right to be elected to parliament.


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