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.
Friesland: Female landowners are allowed to vote in elections to the States of Friesland in rural districts.
Sweden: Female taxpaying members of city guilds are allowed to vote in local city elections (rescinded in 1758) and national elections (rescinded in 1772):
Sweden: Female taxpaying property owners of legal majority are allowed to vote in local countryside elections (never rescinded).
Sweden: limited to local elections with votes graded after taxation; universal franchise achieved in 1919, which went into effect at the 1921 elections.
The Grand Duchy of Finland ( Russian Empire): limited to taxpaying women in the countryside for municipal elections; and in 1872, extended to the cities.
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.
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.)
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.
Denmark: Danske Kvindeforeningers Valgretsforbund (Danish Women’s Society’s Suffrage Union) founded in Copenhagen
Latvia (Russian Empire)
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).
Denmark (limited to local elections)
Portugal: the law was shortly thereafter altered to specify only literate male citizens over the age of 21 had the right to vote.
Denmark (including Iceland) (full voting rights)
Belarusian People’s Republic
Hungary Limited to women over the age of 24 who were literate. (full suffrage granted in 1945)
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/
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.
Netherlands (right to stand in election protected in 1917)
Sweden (legalised, first election 1921)
Irish Free State (equal parliamentary suffrage upon independence from UK. Partial suffrage granted as part of UK in 1918.)
Spain (limited to single women and widows in local elections.)
Italy (limited to local elections)
United Kingdom (franchise made equal to that for men by the Representation of the People Act 1928)
Romania (limited to local elections only, with restrictions)
Portugal (with restrictions following level of education)
Spain (universal suffrage)
Portugal (suffrage is expanded)
Irish Free State (equal suffrage at local elections, partial suffrage as part of the UK from 1869, extended in 1918)
Bulgaria (limited to mothers with legitimate children voting in local elections)
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)
Bulgaria (full rights)
Portugal (expands suffrage)
Romania (extended to full rights)
United Nations adopted The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 21
Vaud (Swiss canton)
Geneva (Swiss canton)
Basel-Stadt (Swiss canton)
Basel-Landschaft (Swiss canton)
Portugal (a select few electoral rights were reserved for men)
Switzerland (federal level)
Portugal (full suffrage)
Appenzell Innerrhoden (Swiss canton) was forced to accept women’s suffrage by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland