Thursday, August 26, 2010

Celebrate women's right to vote

Posted By on Thu, Aug 26, 2010 at 4:48 PM

Here’s something worth celebrating: Today is the 90th anniversary of the day when American women got the right to vote. It’s shocking to think that women in the U.S. didn’t have that right until 1920, but there you have it. Women didn’t gain the right to vote in America until after a decades-long struggle that split the country. As you’d expect, progressives were in favor of women’s suffrage, while conservatives railed against it. (And of course, one of the arguments made against women voters was that it was contrary to biblical scripture, just as scripture was supposedly in favor of slavery, against the civil rights laws of the '60s, and gay rights today.)

Women around the world were generally denied suffrage until 1869, when Britain granted the right to vote in local elections to unmarried women who were householders. The same happened in Sweden in 1862, and Scotland in 1881. Here are the dates when women were granted the right to vote in various countries:

1893: New Zealand

1902: New South Wales

1906: Finland

1907: Norway

1908: Australia, Denmark

1915: Iceland

1917: Russia, Netherlands

1918: Canada, Germany, Ireland, Austria, Latvia, Poland, Estonia

1919: Belgium, Belarus, Luxembourg, Ukraine

America wasn’t the last to come around to gender voting equality, though. Two nations now considered models of modern democracy waited even longer: France in 1944, and unbelievably, Switzerland in 1971. If you're glad American women can vote (and if you're not, please see a therapist), here are three women without whose authority-defying courage it never would have happened.

[caption id="attachment_25543" align="alignnone" width="320" caption="Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton"]



Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton
  • Victoria Woodhull, American wild woman of the 19th century

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