European women’s suffrage

Rumours abound in Britain that a general election is just round the corner. The reaction of many people is: ‘not another election!’ While our politicians may irritate and annoy we should remember just how recent the right to vote is, especially for women. Here is a list of when women were granted the vote in the various European countries.

Election_MG_3455

1689

 Friesland: Female landowners are allowed to vote in elections to the States of Friesland in rural districts.

1718

 Sweden: Female taxpaying members of city guilds are allowed to vote in local city elections (rescinded in 1758) and national elections (rescinded in 1772):

1734

 Sweden: Female taxpaying property owners of legal majority are allowed to vote in local countryside elections (never rescinded).

1862

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

1863

 The Grand Duchy of Finland ( Russian Empire): limited to taxpaying women in the countryside for municipal elections; and in 1872, extended to the cities.

1864

 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.

1869

 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland: limited to single women ratepayers for local elections under the Municipal Franchise Act. (Partial female suffrage in national elections in 1918; universal franchise in 1928.)

1894

 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland: Local Government Act confirms single women’s right to vote in local elections and extends this franchise to some married women.

1898

 Denmark: Danske Kvindeforeningers Valgretsforbund (Danish Women’s Society’s Suffrage Union) founded in Copenhagen

 Latvia (Russian Empire)

1906

 Grand Duchy of Finland (Russian Empire) (first in Europe to give women the right to vote and stand for parliament as the result of 1905 Russian Revolution).

1908

 Denmark (limited to local elections)

1911

 Portugal: the law was shortly thereafter altered to specify only literate male citizens over the age of 21 had the right to vote.

1913

 Norway

1915

 Denmark (including Iceland) (full voting rights)

1917

 Belarusian People’s Republic

 Estonia

 Latvia 

 Lithuania

1918

 Austria

 Germany

 Hungary Limited to women over the age of 24 who were literate. (full suffrage granted in 1945)

 Poland

 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (limited to women over 30, compared to 21 for men and 19 for those who had fought in World War One; various property qualifications remained/

1919

 Belgium (limited to voting at municipal level)

 Hungarian Soviet Republic universal suffrage to trade union members only

 Isle of Man – all adults could vote or be elected – Widows and single women who owned property could vote from 1881.

 Luxembourg

 Netherlands (right to stand in election protected in 1917)

 Sweden (legalised, first election 1921)

1920

 Albania

 Czechoslovakia

1922

 Irish Free State (equal parliamentary suffrage upon independence from UK. Partial suffrage granted as part of UK in 1918.)

1924

 Spain (limited to single women and widows in local elections.)

1925

 Italy (limited to local elections)

1928

 United Kingdom (franchise made equal to that for men by the Representation of the People Act 1928)

1929

 Romania (limited to local elections only, with restrictions)

1931

 Portugal (with restrictions following level of education)

 Spain (universal suffrage)

1934

 Portugal (suffrage is expanded)

1935

 Irish Free State (equal suffrage at local elections, partial suffrage as part of the UK from 1869, extended in 1918)

1937

 Bulgaria (limited to mothers with legitimate children voting in local elections)

1939

 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)

1944

 Bulgaria (full rights)

1945

 France

 Italy

 Yugoslavia

1946

 Portugal (expands suffrage)

 Romania (extended to full rights)

1947

 Malta

1948

 United Nations adopted The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 21

 Belgium

1952

 Greece

1959

 Vaud (Swiss canton)

1960s

 Geneva (Swiss canton)

1966

 Basel-Stadt (Swiss canton)

1968

 Basel-Landschaft (Swiss canton)

 Portugal (a select few electoral rights were reserved for men)

1970s

 Andorra

1971

  Switzerland (federal level)

1976

 Portugal (full suffrage)

1984

 Liechtenstein

1991

 Appenzell Innerrhoden (Swiss canton) was forced to accept women’s suffrage by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland

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