International Women’s Suffrage

International Women's Day rally, Melbourne1_11410104_tcm11-17964Some countries in this list will make you proud, and some, very very angry. Switzerland did not allow women to vote in national elections until 1971! But in a very wonderful way, look at Massachusetts! 1756. How disappointing that our nation’s revolution took that right away. And sadly, there are still countries where women cannot vote today. See the list below. [And one very big disclaimer: this list did come from Wiki. I looked all over for a comprehensive list and came up empty handed. I have verified as much as possible and listed references below. And do feel free to look further into this topic on your own.]

18th century

19th century

  • 1838
  • 1861
    • South Australia (Only property-owning women for local elections, universal franchise in 1894)
  • 1862
    • Sweden (only in local elections, votes graded after taxation, universal franchise in 1918, which went into effect at the 1921 elections)
  • 1864
    • Flag of Victoria (Australia) Women in Victoria, Australia 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.[3]
  • 1869
    • Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom (only in local elections, universal franchise in 1928)
  • 18691920
    • Flag of Wyoming States and territories of the USA, progressively, starting with the Wyoming Territory in 1869 and the Utah Territory in 1870, though the latter was repealed by the Edmunds-Tucker Act in 1887. Wyoming acquired statehood in 1890 (Utah in 1896), allowing women to cast votes in federal elections. The United States as a whole acquired women’s suffrage in 1920 (see below) through the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution; voting qualifications in the U.S., even in federal elections, are set by the states, and this amendment prohibited states from discriminating on the basis of sex.

Statue of Esther Hobart Morris in front of the Wyoming State Capitol

  • 1881
    • Isle of Man (only property-owners until 1913, universal franchise in 1919.)
  • 1884
    • Canada Widows and spinsters granted the right to vote within municipalities in Ontario (later to other provinces).[4]
  • 1886
  • 1889
    • Franceville grants universal suffrage.[7] Loses self-rule within months.
  • 1893
  • 1894
    • South Australia grants universal suffrage, extending the franchise to all women (property-owners could vote in local elections from 1861), the first in Australia to do so. Women are also granted the right to stand for parliament, making South Australia the first in the world to do so.
    • Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom extends right to vote in local elections to married women.
  • 1899

20th century


The argument over women’s rights in Victoria was lampooned in this Melbourne Punch cartoon of 1887










21st century

Countries where women have limited or no voting rights today:

* Bhutan – One vote per house. Although this applies to both men and women, in practice it currently prevents many more women from voting than men. If the new proposed constitution is voted and ratified, then no restrictions will apply by 2008.

* Lebanon – Partial suffrage. Proof of elementary education is required for women but not for men. Voting is compulsory for men but optional for women.

* Brunei – No suffrage for women. Neither men nor women have had the right to vote or to stand for election since 1962 because the country is governed by an absolute monarchy.

* Saudi Arabia – No suffrage for women. The first local elections ever held in the country occurred in 2005. Women were not given the right to vote or to stand for election.

* United Arab Emirates – Limited, but will be fully expanded by 2010.

* Vatican City – No suffrage for women; while most men in the Vatican also lack the vote, all persons with suffrage in Papal conclaves (the Cardinals) are male.


  1. ^ * Åsa Karlsson-Sjögren: “Männen, kvinnorna och rösträtten : medborgarskap och representation 1723-1866” (Men, women and the vote: citizenship and representation 1723-1866) (in Swedish)
  2. ^ * Åsa Karlsson-Sjögren: “Männen, kvinnorna och rösträtten : medborgarskap och representation 1723-1866” (Men, women and the vote: citizenship and representation 1723-1866) (in Swedish)
  3. ^ Women in Parliament – Parliament of Victoria
  4. ^ Canada-WomensVote-WomenSuffrage
  5. ^ “Smallest State in the World,” New York Times, June 19, 1896, p 6
  6. ^ “Tiny Nation to Vote: Smallest Republic in the World to Hold a Presidential Election,” Lowell Daily Sun, Sep 17, 1896
  7. ^ “Wee, Small Republics: A Few Examples of Popular Government,” Hawaiian Gazette, Nov 1, 1895, p 1
  8. ^ Bourdiol, Julien (1908), Condition internationale des Nouvelles-Hebrides, p 106
  9. ^ (Italian) Extension to the women of the right to vote
  10. ^ Woman Suffrage Timeline International – Winning the Vote Around the World
  11. ^
Published in: on August 21, 2009 at 10:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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