Women's suffrage is the right of women to vote in elections. Beginning in the mid-19th century, aside from the work being done by women for broad-based economic and political equality and for social reforms, women sought to change voting laws to allow them to vote. National and international organizations formed to coordinate efforts towards that objective, especially the International Woman Suffrage Alliance (founded in 1904 in Berlin, Germany), as well as for equal civil rights for women.
Many instances occurred in recent centuries where women were selectively given, then stripped of, the right to vote. The first province in the world to award and maintain women's suffrage continuously was Pitcairn Islands in 1838, and the first sovereign nation was Norway in 1913, as the Kingdom of Hawai'i, which originally had universal suffrage in 1840, rescinded this in 1852 and was subsequently annexed by the United States in 1898. In the years after 1869, a number of provinces held by the British and Russian empires conferred women's suffrage, and some of these became sovereign nations at a later point, like New Zealand, Australia, and Finland. Women who owned property gained the right to vote in the Isle of Man in 1881, and in 1893, women in the then self-governing British colony of New Zealand were granted the right to vote. In Australia, non-Aboriginal women progressively gained the right to vote between 1894 and 1911 (federally in 1902). Prior to independence, in the Russian Grand Duchy of Finland, women were the first in the world to gain racially-equal suffrage, with both the right to vote and to stand as candidates in 1906. Most major Western powers extended voting rights to women in the interwar period, including Canada (1917), Britain and Germany (1918), Austria and the Netherlands (1919) and the United States (1920). Notable exceptions in Europe were France, where women could not vote until 1944, Greece (equal voting rights for women did not exist there until 1952, although, since 1930, literate women were able to vote in local elections), and Switzerland (where, since 1971, women could vote at the federal level, and between 1959 and 1990, women got the right to vote at the local canton level). Since Saudi Arabia granted voting rights to women (2015), women can vote in every country that has elections.
Leslie Hume argues that the First World War changed the popular mood:
The women's contribution to the war effort challenged the notion of women's physical and mental inferiority and made it more difficult to maintain that women were, both by constitution and temperament, unfit to vote. If women could work in munitions factories, it seemed both ungrateful and illogical to deny them a place in the voting booth. But the vote was much more than simply a reward for war work; the point was that women's participation in the war helped to dispel the fears that surrounded women's entry into the public arena.
Extended political campaigns by women and their supporters have generally been necessary to gain legislation or constitutional amendments for women's suffrage. In many countries, limited suffrage for women was granted before universal suffrage for men; for instance, literate women or property owners were granted suffrage before all men received it. The United Nations encouraged women's suffrage in the years following World War II, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979) identifies it as a basic right with 189 countries currently being parties to this Convention.
In ancient Athens, often cited as the birthplace of democracy, only adult male citizens who owned land were permitted to vote. Through subsequent centuries, Europe was generally ruled by monarchs, though various forms of parliament arose at different times. The high rank ascribed to abbesses within the Catholic Church permitted some women the right to sit and vote at national assemblies – as with various high-ranking abbesses in Medieval Germany, who were ranked among the independent princes of the empire. Their Protestant successors enjoyed the same privilege almost into modern times.
Marie Guyart, a French nun who worked with the First Nations peoples of Canada during the seventeenth century, wrote in 1654 regarding the suffrage practices of Iroquois women, "These female chieftains are women of standing amongst the savages, and they have a deciding vote in the councils. They make decisions there like the men, and it is they who even delegated the first ambassadors to discuss peace." The Iroquois, like many First Nations peoples in North America, had a matrilineal kinship system. Property and descent were passed through the female line. Women elders voted on hereditary male chiefs and could depose them.
In Sweden, conditional women's suffrage was in effect during the Age of Liberty (1718–1772). Other possible contenders for first "country" to grant women suffrage include the Corsican Republic (1755), the Pitcairn Islands (1838), the Isle of Man (1881), and Franceville (1889–1890), but some of these operated only briefly as independent states and others were not clearly independent.
In 1756, Lydia Taft became the first legal woman voter in colonial America. This occurred under British rule in the Massachusetts Colony. In a New England town meeting in Uxbridge, Massachusetts, she voted on at least three occasions. Unmarried white women who owned property could vote in New Jersey from 1776 to 1807.
The female descendants of the Bounty mutineers who lived on Pitcairn Islands could vote from 1838. This right was transferred after they resettled in 1856 to Norfolk Island (now an Australian external territory).
The emergence of modern democracy generally began with male citizens obtaining the right to vote in advance of female citizens, except in the Kingdom of Hawai'i, where universal suffrage was introduced in 1840 without mention of sex; however, a constitutional amendment in 1852 rescinded female voting and put property qualifications on male voting.
The seed for the first Woman's Rights Convention in the United States in Seneca Falls, New York was planted in 1840, when Elizabeth Cady Stanton met Lucretia Mott at the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London. The conference refused to seat Mott and other women delegates from the U.S. because of their sex. In 1851, Stanton met temperance worker Susan B. Anthony, and shortly the two would be joined in the long struggle to secure the vote for women in the U.S. In 1868 Anthony encouraged working women from the printing and sewing trades in New York, who were excluded from men's trade unions, to form Working Women's Associations. As a delegate to the National Labor Congress in 1868, Anthony persuaded the committee on female labor to call for votes for women and equal pay for equal work. The men at the conference deleted the reference to the vote. In the US, women in the Wyoming Territory were permitted to both vote and stand for office in 1869. Subsequent American suffrage groups often disagreed on tactics, with the National American Woman Suffrage Association arguing for a state-by-state campaign and the National Woman's Party focusing on an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The 1840 constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii established a House of Representatives, but did not specify who was eligible to participate in the election of it. Some academics have argued that this omission enabled women to vote in the first elections, in which votes were cast by means of signatures on petitions; but this interpretation remains controversial. The second constitution of 1852 specified that suffrage was restricted to males over twenty years-old.
In 1849, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, in Italy, was the first European state to have a law that provided for the vote of women, for administrative elections, taking up a tradition that was already informally sometimes present in Italy.
In 1881 the Isle of Man, an internally self-governing dependent territory of the British Crown, enfranchised women property owners. With this it provided the first action for women's suffrage within the British Isles.
The Pacific commune of Franceville (now Port Vila, Vanuatu), maintained independence from 1889 to 1890, becoming the first self-governing nation to adopt universal suffrage without distinction of sex or color, although only white males were permitted to hold office.
For countries that have their origins in self-governing colonies but later became independent nations in the 20th century, the Colony of New Zealand was the first to acknowledge women's right to vote in 1893, largely due to a movement led by Kate Sheppard. The British protectorate of Cook Islands rendered the same right in 1893 as well. Another British colony in the same decade, South Australia, followed in 1894, enacting laws which not only extended voting to women, but also made women eligible to stand for election to its parliament at the next vote in 1895.
The newly federated Australian Federal Parliament passed laws to permit voting and standing for election, to adult women for National elections from 1902 (with the exception of Aboriginal women in some states).
The first place in Europe to introduce women's suffrage was the Grand Duchy of Finland in 1906, and it also became the first place in continental Europe to implement racially-equal suffrage for women. As a result of the 1907 parliamentary elections, Finland's voters elected 19 women as the first female members of a representative parliament. This was one of many self-governing actions in the Russian autonomous province that led to conflict with the Russian governor of Finland, ultimately leading to the creation of the Finnish nation in 1917.
In the years before World War I, women in Norway also won the right to vote. During WWI, Denmark, Canada, Russia, Germany, and Poland also recognized women's right to vote. The Representation of the People Act 1918 saw British women over 30 gain the vote. Dutch women won the vote in 1919, and American women on August 26, 1920, with the passage of the 19th Amendment (the Voting Rights Act of 1965 secured voting rights for racial minorities). Irish women won the same voting rights as men in the Irish Free State constitution, 1922. In 1928, British women won suffrage on the same terms as men, that is, for ages 21 and older. The suffrage of Turkish women was introduced in 1930 for local elections and in 1934 for national elections.
By the time French women were granted the suffrage in July 1944 by Charles de Gaulle's government in exile, by a vote of 51 for, 16 against, France had been for about a decade the only Western country that did not at least allow women's suffrage at municipal elections.
Voting rights for women were introduced into international law by the United Nations' Human Rights Commission, whose elected chair was Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1948 the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Article 21 stated: "(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures."
The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Political Rights of Women, which went into force in 1954, enshrining the equal rights of women to vote, hold office, and access public services as set out by national laws. One of the most recent jurisdictions to acknowledge women's full right to vote was Bhutan in 2008 (its first national elections). Most recently, in 2011 King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia let women vote in the 2015 local elections and be appointed to the Consultative Assembly.
The suffrage movement was a broad one, made up of women and men with a wide range of views. In terms of diversity, the greatest achievement of the twentieth-century woman suffrage movement was its extremely broad class base. One major division, especially in Britain, was between suffragists, who sought to create change constitutionally, and suffragettes, led by English political activist Emmeline Pankhurst, who in 1903 formed the more militant Women's Social and Political Union. Pankhurst would not be satisfied with anything but action on the question of women's enfranchisement, with "deeds, not words" the organisation's motto.
Throughout the world, the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), which was established in the United States in 1873, campaigned for women's suffrage, in addition to ameliorating the condition of prostitutes. Under the leadership of Frances Willard, "the WCTU became the largest women's organization of its day and is now the oldest continuing women's organization in the United States."
There was also a diversity of views on a "woman's place". Suffragist themes often included the notions that women were naturally kinder and more concerned about children and the elderly. As Kraditor shows, it was often assumed that women voters would have a civilizing effect on politics, opposing domestic violence, liquor, and emphasizing cleanliness and community. An opposing theme, Kraditor argues, held that women had the same moral standards. They should be equal in every way and that there was no such thing as a woman's "natural role".
For black women in the United States, achieving suffrage was a way to counter the disfranchisement of the men of their race. Despite this discouragement, black suffragists continued to insist on their equal political rights. Starting in the 1890s, African American women began to assert their political rights aggressively from within their own clubs and suffrage societies. "If white American women, with all their natural and acquired advantages, need the ballot," argued Adella Hunt Logan of Tuskegee, Alabama, "how much more do black Americans, male and female, need the strong defense of a vote to help secure their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?"
|Country||Year women first granted suffrage at national level||Notes|
|Albania||1945||Albanian women voted for the first time in the 1945 election.|
|Algeria||1962||In 1962, on its independence from France, Algeria granted equal voting rights to all men and women.|
|Argentina||1947||On September 23, 1947, the Female Enrollment Act (number 13,010) was enacted in the government of Juan Perón|
|Armenia||1917 (by application of the Russian legislation)
1919 March (by adoption of its own legislation)
|On June 21 and 23, 1919, first direct parliamentary elections were held in Armenia under universal suffrage - every person over the age of 20 had the right to vote regardless of gender, ethnicity or religious beliefs. The 80-seat legislature contained three women deputies: Katarine Zalyan-Manukyan, Perchuhi Partizpanyan-Barseghyan and Varvara Sahakyan. |
|Australia||1902 (Non-indigenous only)
|Colony of South Australia 1894, Colony of Western Australia 1899, the remaining Australian states for non-indigenous women 1902. Indigenous Australian women (and men) were granted the vote in South Australia in 1895, but this right was revoked in 1902 for any Aboriginal person not already enrolled. Indigenous Australians were not given the right to vote in all states until 1962.|
|Austria||1918||The Electoral Code was changed in December 1918. First election was in February 1919.|
|Azerbaijan||1918||Azerbaijan was the first Muslim-majority country to enfranchise women.|
|Bahrain||2002||No elections were held in Bahrain between 1973 and 2002.|
|Bangladesh||1971 (upon its independence)|
|British Leeward Islands (Today: Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla)||1951|
|British Windward Islands (Today: Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica)||1951|
|Belarusian People's Republic||1919|
|Belgium||1919/1948||Was granted in the constitution in 1919, for communal voting. Suffrage for the provincial councils and the national parliament only came in 1948.|
|British Honduras (Today: Belize)||1954|
|Dahomey (Today: Benin)||1956|
|Bolivia||1938/1952||Limited women's suffrage in 1938 (only for literate women and those with a certain level of income). On equal terms with men since 1952.|
|Brunei||1959||National elections in Brunei currently suspended. Both men and women have voting rights only for local elections.|
|Kingdom of Bulgaria||1937/1944||Married women (and by default widowed women) gained the right to vote on January 18, 1937, in local elections, but could not run for office. Single women were excluded from voting. Full voting rights were bestowed by the communist regime in September 1944 and reaffirmed by an electoral law reform on June 15, 1945.|
|Upper Volta (Today: Burkina Faso)||1958|
|Kingdom of Cambodia||1955|
|British Cameroons (Today: Cameroon)||1946|
|Canada||1917–1919 for most of Canada; Prince Edward Island in 1922; Newfoundland in 1925; Quebec in 1940; 1960 for Aboriginal People without requiring them to give up their status as before||To help win a mandate for conscription during World War I, the federal Conservative government of Robert Borden granted the vote in 1917 to war widows, women serving overseas, and the female relatives of men serving overseas. However, the same legislation, the Wartime Elections Act, disenfranchised those who became naturalized Canadian citizens after 1902. Women over 21 who were "not alien-born" and who met certain property qualifications were allowed to vote in federal elections in 1918. Women first won the vote provincially in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta in 1916; British Columbia and Ontario in 1917; Nova Scotia in 1918; New Brunswick in 1919 (women could not run for New Brunswick provincial office until 1934); Prince Edward Island in 1922; Newfoundland in 1925 (which did not join Confederation until 1949); and Quebec in 1940.|
Aboriginal men and women were not given the right to vote until 1960; previously, they could only vote if they gave up their treaty status. It was not until 1948, when Canada signed the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that it was forced to examine the issue of discrimination against Aboriginal people.
|Cape Verde||1975 (upon its independence)|
|Central African Republic||1986|
|Chile||1949||From 1934 to 1949, women could vote in local elections at 25, while men could vote in all elections at 21. In both cases, literacy was required.|
|China (PRC)||1949||In 1949, the People's Republic of China (PRC) incorporated equal rights for men and women into Constitution of the People's Republic of China (PRC), referring to the earlier Constitution of the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan) in 1947. Elections in China (PRC) are based on a hierarchical electoral system in which some representatives are directly elected and some are indirectly elected.|
|Zaire (Today: Democratic Republic of the Congo)||1967|
|Congo, Republic of the||1963|
|Czechoslovakia (Today: Czechia, Slovakia)||1920||The Czechoslovak Constitution adopted on 29 February 1920 guaranteed the universal vote for every citizen including women to every electable body.|
|Kingdom of Denmark (Including the Faroe Islands and, at that time, Iceland)||1908 at local elections, 1915 at national parliamentary elections|
|Ecuador||1929/1967||Despite that Ecuador granted women suffrage in 1929, which was earlier than most independent countries in Latin America (except for Uruguay, which granted women suffrage in 1917), differences between men's and women's suffrage in Ecuador were only removed in 1967 (before 1967 women's vote was optional, while that of men was compulsory; since 1967 it is compulsory for both sexes).|
|El Salvador||1939/1950||Women obtained in 1939 suffrage with restrictions requiring literacy and a higher age. All restrictions were lifted in 1950 allowing women to vote, but women obtained the right to stand for elections only in 1961.|
|Equatorial Guinea||1963||Effectively a one-party state under the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea since 1987; elections in Equatorial Guinea are not considered to be free or fair.|
|Eritrea||No voting||There have not been elections in Eritrea since its independence in 1993.|
|Eswatini (Formerly: Swaziland)||1968||While there are elections in Eswatini, the country is an absolute monarchy and the most recent general election had a very low turnout, causing some to call democracy in the country into question.|
|Ethiopia (Then including Eritrea)||1955|
|Grand Duchy of Finland||1906||Women retained the right to vote when Finland gained its independence from Russia in 1917.|
|Democratic Republic of Georgia||1918|
|Greece||1930 (Local Elections, Literate Only), 1952 (Unconditional)|
|Guatemala||1945/1965||Women could vote from 1945, but only if literate. Restrictions on women's suffrage were lifted in 1965.|
|Kingdom of Hawaii||1840–1852||Universal suffrage was established in 1840, which meant that women could vote. Opposition resulted in a specific denial of women's suffrage in the 1852 constitution.|
|After 1919 men could vote from the age of 24 while women only gained the right to vote from the age of 30. There were also educational and economical criteria set for both genders, but all criteria were higher for women.|
After 1945 both men and women gained universal suffrage from the age of 20.
|India (upon its independence)||1947||In 1947, on its independence from the United Kingdom, India granted equal voting rights to all men and women.|
|Indonesia||1937 (for Europeans only)
1945 (for all citizens, granted upon independence)
|Iran||1963||In 1945, during the one-year rule of the Azerbaijani Democratic Party, Iranian Azerbaijani women were allowed to vote and be elected.|
|Iraq||1948||first ever free elections were held in 2005|
|From 1918, with the rest of the United Kingdom, women could vote at 30 with property qualifications or in university constituencies, while men could vote at 21 with no qualification. From separation in 1922, the Irish Free State gave equal voting rights to men and women.|
|Isle of Man||1881|
|Israel||1948||Women's suffrage was granted with the declaration of independence. But prior to that in the Jewish settlement in Palestine, suffrage was granted in 1920.|
|Italy||1925 (partial), 1945 (full)||Local elections in 1925. Full suffrage in 1945.|
|Japan||1946||1946 Japanese general election|
|Jersey||1919||Restrictions on franchise applied to men and women until after Liberation in 1945.|
|Korea, South||1948 (for both men & women)||Suffrage for both men and women were given at same date, same year right after the first constitutional law had been announced. Up to 1910, it was Korean Empire with despotic monarchy, so no one had the suffrage, and from 1910 to 1945, Korea was a colony of Japan, so again no one had suffrage for the Japanese Empire. From 1945 to 1948, South part of Korea was ruled by United States Army Military Government in Korea, so still no one had any suffrage for the government. From the first constitutional law of Korea, Korea adopted egalitarianism, giving the suffrage for both men and women at the same time.|
|Kuwait||2005||All voters must have been citizens of Kuwait for at least 20 years.|
|Kingdom of Laos||1958|
|Lebanon||1952||In 1952, after a 30-year long battle for suffrage, the bill allowing Lebanese women to vote passed. In 1957 a requirement for women (but not men) to have elementary education before voting was dropped, as was voting being compulsory for men.|
|Kingdom of Libya||1963 (1951 local)|||
|Luxembourg||1919||Women gained the vote on May 15, 1919, through amendment of Article 52 of Luxembourg's constitution.|
|Federation of Malaya (Today: Malaysia)||1955||First general election for the Federal Legislative Council, two years before independence in 1957|
|Micronesia, Federated States of||1979|
|Moldova||1929/1940||As part of the Kingdom of Romania, women who met certain qualifications were allowed to vote in local elections, starting in 1929. After the Constitution of 1938, voting rights were extended to women for general elections by the Electoral Law 1939. In 1940, after the formation of the Moldavian SSR, equal voting rights were granted to men and women.|
|Mongolian People's Republic||1924|
|People's Republic of Mozambique||1975|
|Namibia||1989 (upon its independence)||At independence from South Africa.|
|Nepal||1951 (upon gaining Democracy)|
|Netherlands||1917||Women have been allowed to vote since 1919. Since 1917 women have been allowed to be voted into office.|
|Oman||1994||While, technically, elections take place in Oman, this is only to elect a consultative assembly with no power, as Oman is an absolute monarchy.|
|Pakistan||1947 (upon its independence)||In 1947, on its creation at the partition of India, Pakistan granted full voting rights to men and women.|
|Palestine||1996||Women first voted in local elections in the West Bank in 1976. Women (and men) first elected a Palestinian parliament in 1996. However, the last general election was in 2006; there was supposed to be another in 2014 but elections have been delayed indefinitely.|
|Panama||1941/1946||Limited women's suffrage from 1941 (conditioned by level of education) equal women's suffrage from 1946.|
|Papua New Guinea||1964|
|Philippines||1937||Filipino women voted in a 1937 plebiscite for their right to vote; women first voted in local elections later that year.|
|Portugal||1911/1931/1976||With restrictions in 1911, later made illegal again until 1931 when it was reinstated with restrictions, restrictions other than age requirements lifted in 1976.|
|Puerto Rico||1929/1935||Limited suffrage was passed for women, restricted to those who were literate. In 1935 the legislature approved suffrage for all women.|
|Qatar||1997||While required by the constitution, general elections have been repeatedly delayed. Only municipal elections have been held thus far.|
|Romania||1929/1939/1946||Starting in 1929, women who met certain qualifications were allowed to vote in local elections. After the Constitution from 1938, the voting rights were extended to women for general elections by the Electoral Law 1939. Women could vote on equal terms with men, but both men and women had restrictions, and in practice the restrictions affected women more than men. In 1946, full equal voting rights were granted to men and women.|
|Russian Republic||1917||On July 20, 1917, under the Provisional Government.|
|Saudi Arabia||2015||In December 2015, women were first allowed to vote and run for office. However, there are no national elections in Saudi Arabia. The country is an absolute monarchy.|
|Samoa||1990||While elections in Samoa restrict candidacy to matai, there is universal suffrage.|
|São Tomé and Príncipe||1975|
|Sierra Leone||1961||In the 1790s, while Sierra Leone was still a colony, women voted in the elections.|
|South Africa||1930 (European and Asian women)
1994 (all women)
|Women of other races were enfranchised in 1994, at the same time as men of all races.|
|Spain||1924 /October 1, 1931 1977||Women briefly held the right to vote from 1924 to 1926, but an absence of elections mean they never had the opportunity to go to the polls until 1933, after earning the right to vote in the 1931 Constitution passed after the elections. The government fell after only two elections where women could vote, and no one would vote again until after the death of Francisco Franco.|
|Sri Lanka (Formerly: Ceylon)||1931|
|Switzerland||1971 at federal level, between 1959 and 1990 at local canton level||Women obtained the right to vote in national elections in 1971. Women obtained the right to vote at local canton level between 1959 (Vaud and Neuchâtel in that year) and 1972, except for 1989 in Appenzell Ausserrhoden and 1990 in Appenzell Innerrhoden. See also Women's suffrage in Switzerland.|
|Grand Duchy of Tuscany||1848|
|Taiwan||1947||In 1945, the island of Taiwan was returned from Japan to China. In 1947, women won the suffrage under the Constitution of the Republic of China. In 1949, the Government of the Republic of China (ROC) lost mainland China and moved to Taiwan.|
|Trinidad and Tobago||1925||Suffrage was granted for the first time in 1925 to either sex, to men over the age of 21 and women over the age of 30, as in Great Britain (the "Mother Country", as Trinidad and Tobago was still a colony at the time) In 1945 full suffrage was granted to women.|
|Turkey||1930 (for local elections), 1934 (for national elections)|
|United Arab Emirates||2006||Elections in the United Arab Emirates occur on a national level. However, their democratic usefuleness is disputed.|
|United Kingdom||1918 (partial)
|From 1918 to 1928, women could vote at 30 with property qualifications or as graduates of UK universities, while men could vote at 21 with no qualification. From 1928 women had equal suffrage with men.|
|��United States||1920 (nearly all)
1965 (legal protections)
|Before the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, individual states had passed legislation that allowed women to vote in different types of elections; some only allowed women to vote in school or municipal elections, some required that women owned property if they wanted to vote, and some territories extended full suffrage to women, only to take it away once they became states. Although legally entitled to vote, black women were effectively denied voting rights in numerous Southern states until 1965.|
|United States Virgin Islands||1936||Beginning in 1936 women could vote; however, this vote, as with men, was limited to those who could prove they had an income of $300 per year or more.|
|Uruguay||1917/1927||Uruguay was the first country in all of the Americas – and one of the first in the world – to grant women fully equal civil rights and universal suffrage (in its Constitution of 1917), though this suffrage was first exercised in 1927, in the plebiscite of Cerro Chato.|
|Vatican City||No voting||The Pope, elected by the all-male College of Cardinals through a secret ballot, is the leader of the Catholic Church, and exercises ex officio supreme legislative, executive, and judicial power over the State of the Vatican City.|
|Venezuela||1946 (partial)||Though there are disputes as to the legitimacy of elections in Venezuela, they are ongoing at a national level.|
|Vietnam||1946||1946 North Vietnamese legislative election|
|North Yemen (Today: Yemen)||1970|
|South Yemen (Today: Yemen)||1967|
|Zambia||1962 (then Northern Rhodesia)||Women's suffrage granted in Northern Rhodesia in 1962.|
|Southern Rhodesia (Today: Zimbabwe)||1919 (whites only)||1978 (full)|
|Yugoslavia (Today: Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia)||1945|
The struggle for women's suffrage in Egypt first sparked from the nationalist 1919 Revolution in which women of all classes took to the streets in protest against the British occupation. The struggle was led by several Egyptian women's rights pioneers in the first half of the 20th century through protest, journalism, and lobbying. President Gamal Abdel-Nasser supported women's suffrage in 1956 after they were denied the vote under the British occupation.
One of the first occasions when women were able to vote was in the elections of the Nova Scotian settlers at Freetown. In the 1792 elections, all heads of household could vote and one-third were ethnic African women. Women won the right to vote in Sierra Leone in 1930.
The franchise was extended to white women 21 years or older by the Women's Enfranchisement Act, 1930. The first general election at which women could vote was the 1933 election. At that election Leila Reitz (wife of Deneys Reitz) was elected as the first female MP, representing Parktown for the South African Party. The limited voting rights available to non-white men in the Cape Province and Natal (Transvaal and the Orange Free State practically denied all non-whites the right to vote, and had also done so to white foreign nationals when independent in the 1800s) were not extended to women, and were themselves progressively eliminated between 1936 and 1968.
The right to vote for the Transkei Legislative Assembly, established in 1963 for the Transkei bantustan, was granted to all adult citizens of the Transkei, including women. Similar provision was made for the Legislative Assemblies created for other bantustans. All adult coloured citizens were eligible to vote for the Coloured Persons Representative Council, which was established in 1968 with limited legislative powers; the council was however abolished in 1980. Similarly, all adult Indian citizens were eligible to vote for the South African Indian Council in 1981. In 1984 the Tricameral Parliament was established, and the right to vote for the House of Representatives and House of Delegates was granted to all adult Coloured and Indian citizens, respectively.
In 1994 the bantustans and the Tricameral Parliament were abolished and the right to vote for the National Assembly was granted to all adult citizens.
Southern Rhodesian white women won the vote in 1919 and Ethel Tawse Jollie (1875–1950) was elected to the Southern Rhodesia legislature 1920–1928, the first woman to sit in any national Commonwealth Parliament outside Westminster. The influx of women settlers from Britain proved a decisive factor in the 1922 referendum that rejected annexation by a South Africa increasingly under the sway of traditionalist Afrikaner Nationalists in favor of Rhodesian Home Rule or "responsible government". Black Rhodesian males qualified for the vote in 1923 (based only upon property, assets, income, and literacy). It is unclear when the first black woman qualified for the vote.
Women have been able to vote in Afghanistan since 1965 (except during Taliban rule, 1996–2001, when no elections were held). As of 2009[update], women have been casting fewer ballots in part due to being unaware of their voting rights. In the 2014 election, Afghanistan's elected president pledged to bring women equal rights.
Bangladesh was (mostly) the province of Bengal in India until 1947, then it became part of Pakistan. It became an independent nation in 1971. Women have had equal suffrage since 1947, and they have reserved seats in parliament. Bangladesh is notable in that since 1991, two women, namely Sheikh Hasina and Begum Khaleda Zia, have served terms as the country's Prime Minister continuously. Women have traditionally played a minimal role in politics beyond the anomaly of the two leaders; few used to run against men; few have been ministers. Recently, however, women have become more active in politics, with several prominent ministerial posts given to women and women participating in national, district and municipal elections against men and winning on several occasions. Choudhury and Hasanuzzaman argue that the strong patriarchal traditions of Bangladesh explain why women are so reluctant to stand up in politics.
The fight for women's suffrage in China was organized when Tang Qunying founded the women's suffrage organization Nüzi chanzheng tongmenghui, to ensure that women's suffrage would be included in the first Constitution drafted after the abolition of the Chinese Monarchy in 1911–1912.  A short but intense period of campaigning was ended with failure in 1914.
In the following period, local governments in China introduced women's suffrage in their own territories, such as Hunan and Guangdong in 1921 and Sichuan in 1923.
Women's suffrage was included by the Kuomintang Government in the Constitution of 1936, but because of the war, the reform could not be enacted until after the war and was finally introduced in 1947. 
Women in India were allowed to vote right from the first general elections after the independence of India in 1947 unlike during the British rule who resisted allowing women to vote. The Women's Indian Association (WIA) was founded in 1917. It sought votes for women and the right to hold legislative office on the same basis as men. These positions were endorsed by the main political groupings, the Indian National Congress. British and Indian feminists combined in 1918 to publish a magazine Stri Dharma that featured international news from a feminist perspective. In 1919 in the Montagu���Chelmsford Reforms, the British set up provincial legislatures which had the power to grant women's suffrage. Madras in 1921 granted votes to wealthy and educated women, under the same terms that applied to men. The other provinces followed, but not the princely states (which did not have votes for men either, being monarchies). In Bengal province, the provincial assembly rejected it in 1921 but Southard shows an intense campaign produced victory in 1921. Success in Bengal depended on middle class Indian women, who emerged from a fast-growing urban elite. The women leaders in Bengal linked their crusade to a moderate nationalist agenda, by showing how they could participate more fully in nation-building by having voting power. They carefully avoided attacking traditional gender roles by arguing that traditions could coexist with political modernization.
Whereas wealthy and educated women in Madras were granted voting right in 1921, in Punjab the Sikhs granted women equal voting rights in 1925 irrespective of their educational qualifications or being wealthy or poor. This happened when the Gurdwara Act of 1925 was approved. The original draft of the Gurdwara Act sent by the British to the Sharomani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) did not include Sikh women, but the Sikhs inserted the clause without the women having to ask for it. Equality of women with men is enshrined in the Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred scripture of the Sikh faith.
In the Government of India Act 1935 the British Raj set up a system of separate electorates and separate seats for women. Most women's leaders opposed segregated electorates and demanded adult franchise. In 1931 the Congress promised universal adult franchise when it came to power. It enacted equal voting rights for both men and women in 1947.
Indonesia granted women voting rights for municipal councils in 1905. Only men who could read and write could vote, which excluded many non-European males. At the time, the literacy rate for males was 11% and for females 2%. The main group that pressed for women's suffrage in Indonesia was the Dutch Vereeninging voor Vrouwenkiesrecht (VVV-Women's Suffrage Association), founded in the Netherlands in 1894. VVV tried to attract Indonesian members, but had very limited success because the leaders of the organization had little skill in relating to even the educated class of Indonesians. When they eventually did connect somewhat with women, they failed to sympathize with them and ended up alienating many well-educated Indonesians. In 1918 the first national representative body, the Volksraad, was formed which still excluded women from voting. In 1935, the colonial administration used its power of nomination to appoint a European woman to the Volksraad. In 1938, women gained the right to be elected to urban representative institutions, which led to some Indonesian and European women entering municipal councils. Eventually, only European women and municipal councils could vote,[clarification needed] excluding all other women and local councils. In September 1941, the Volksraad extended the vote to women of all races. Finally, in November 1941, the right to vote for municipal councils was granted to all women on a similar basis to men (subject to property and educational qualifications).
A referendum in January 1963 overwhelmingly approved by voters gave women the right to vote, a right previously denied to them under the Iranian Constitution of 1906 pursuant to Chapter 2, Article 3.
Although women were allowed to vote in some prefectures in 1880, women's suffrage was enacted at a national level in 1945.
South Korean people, including South Korean women, were granted the vote in 1948.
Pakistan was part of British Raj until 1947, when it became independent. Women received full suffrage in 1947. Muslim women leaders from all classes actively supported the Pakistan movement in the mid-1940s. Their movement was led by wives and other relatives of leading politicians. Women were sometimes organized into large-scale public demonstrations. In November 1988, Benazir Bhutto became the first Muslim woman to be elected as Prime Minister of a Muslim country.
The Philippines was one of the first countries in Asia to grant women the right to vote. Suffrage for Filipinas was achieved following an all-female, special plebiscite held on April 30, 1937. 447,725 – some ninety percent – voted in favour of women's suffrage against 44,307 who voted no. In compliance with the 1935 Constitution, the National Assembly passed a law which extended the right of suffrage to women, which remains to this day.
In late September 2011, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud declared that women would be able to vote and run for office starting in 2015. That applies to the municipal councils, which are the kingdom's only semi-elected bodies. Half of the seats on municipal councils are elective, and the councils have few powers. The council elections have been held since 2005 (the first time they were held before that was the 1960s). Saudi women did first vote and first run for office in December 2015, for those councils. Salma bint Hizab al-Oteibi became the first elected female politician in Saudi Arabia in December 2015, when she won a seat on the council in Madrakah in Mecca province. In all, the December 2015 election in Saudi Arabia resulted in twenty women being elected to municipal councils.
The king declared in 2011 that women would be eligible to be appointed to the Shura Council, an unelected body that issues advisory opinions on national policy. '"This is great news," said Saudi writer and women's rights activist Wajeha al-Huwaider. "Women's voices will finally be heard. Now it is time to remove other barriers like not allowing women to drive cars and not being able to function, to live a normal life without male guardians."' Robert Lacey, author of two books about the kingdom, said, "This is the first positive, progressive speech out of the government since the Arab Spring.... First the warnings, then the payments, now the beginnings of solid reform." The king made the announcement in a five-minute speech to the Shura Council. In January 2013, King Abdullah issued two royal decrees, granting women thirty seats on the council, and stating that women must always hold at least a fifth of the seats on the council. According to the decrees, the female council members must be "committed to Islamic Shariah disciplines without any violations" and be "restrained by the religious veil." The decrees also said that the female council members would be entering the council building from special gates, sit in seats reserved for women and pray in special worshipping places. Earlier, officials said that a screen would separate genders and an internal communications network would allow men and women to communicate. Women first joined the council in 2013, occupying thirty seats. There are two Saudi royal women among these thirty female members of the assembly, Sara bint Faisal Al Saud and Moudi bint Khalid Al Saud. Furthermore, in 2013 three women were named as deputy chairpersons of three committees: Thurayya Obeid was named deputy chairwoman of the human rights and petitions committee, Zainab Abu Talib, deputy chairwoman of the information and cultural committee, and Lubna Al Ansari, deputy chairwoman of the health affairs and environment committee.
In 1931 Sri Lanka (at that time Ceylon) became one of the first Asian countries to allow voting rights to women over the age of 21 without any restrictions. Since then, women have enjoyed a significant presence in the Sri Lankan political arena. The zenith of this favourable condition to women has been the 1960 July General Elections, in which Ceylon elected the world's first woman Prime Minister, Sirimavo Bandaranaike. She is the world's first democratically elected female head of government. Her daughter, Chandrika Kumaratunga also became the Prime Minister later in 1994, and the same year she was elected as the Executive president of Sri Lanka, making her the fourth woman in the world to be elected president, and the first female executive president.
The Ministry of Interior’s Local Administrative Act of May 1897 (Phraraachabanyat 1897 [BE 2440]) granted municipal suffrage in the election of village leader to all villagers “whose house or houseboat was located in that village,” and explicitly included women voters who met the qualifications. This was a part of the far-reaching administrative reforms enacted by King Chulalongkorn (r. 1868–1919), in his efforts to protect Thai sovereignty.
In the new constitution introducted after the Siamese revolution of 1932, which transformed Siam from an absolute monarchy to a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, women where granted the right to vote and run for office. This reform was enacted without any prior activism in favor of women's suffrage and was followed by a number of reforms in women's rights, and it has been suggested that the reform was part of an effort by Pridi Bhanomyong to put Thailand on equal political terms with modern Western powers and establish diplomatic recognition by those as a modern nation. The new right was used for the first time in 1933, and the first female MPs were elected in 1949.
In Europe, the last countries to enact women's suffrage were Switzerland and Liechtenstein. In Switzerland, women gained the right to vote in federal elections in 1971; but in the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden women obtained the right to vote on local issues only in 1991, when the canton was forced to do so by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland. In Liechtenstein, women were given the right to vote by the women's suffrage referendum of 1984. Three prior referendums held in 1968, 1971 and 1973 had failed to secure women's right to vote.
Albania introduced a limited and conditional form of women's suffrage in 1920, and full voting rights in 1945.
After the breakdown of the Habsburg Monarchy in 1918 Austria granted the general, equal, direct and secret right to vote to all citizens, regardless of sex, through the change of the electoral code in December 1918. The first elections in which women participated were the February 1919 Constituent Assembly elections.
A revision of the constitution in October 1921 (it changed art. 47 of the Constitution of Belgium of 1831) introduced the general right to vote according to the "one man, one vote" principle. Art. 47 allowed widows of World War I to vote at the national level as well. The introduction of women's suffrage was already put onto the agenda at the time, by means of including an article in the constitution that allowed approval of women's suffrage by special law (meaning it needed a 2/3 majority to pass). This happened in March 1948. In Belgium, voting is compulsory.
Bulgaria was liberated from Ottoman rule in 1878. Although the first adopted constitution, the Tarnovo Constitution (1879), gave women equal election rights, in fact women were not allowed to vote and to be elected. The Bulgarian Women's Union was an umbrella organization of the 27 local women's organisations that had been established in Bulgaria since 1878. It was founded as a reply to the limitations of women's education and access to university studies in the 1890s, with the goal to further women's intellectual development and participation, arranged national congresses and used Zhenski glas as its organ. However, they have limited success, and women were allowed to vote and to be elected only after when Communist rule was established.
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In the former Bohemia, taxpaying women and women in "learned profession[s]" were allowed to vote by proxy and made eligible to the legislative body in 1864. The first Czech female MP was elected to the Diet of Bohemia in 1912. The Declaration of Independence of the Czechoslovak Nation from October 18, 1918, declared that "our democracy shall rest on universal suffrage. Women shall be placed on equal footing with men, politically, socially, and culturally," and women were appointed to the Revolutionary National Assembly (parliament) on November 13, 1918. On June 15, 1919, women voted in local elections for the first time. Women were guaranteed equal voting rights by the constitution of the Czechoslovak Republic in February 1920 and were able to vote for the parliament for the first time in April 1920.
In Denmark, the Danish Women's Society (DK) debated, and informally supported, women's suffrage from 1884, but it did not support it publicly until in 1887, when it supported the suggestion of the parliamentarian Fredrik Bajer to grant women municipal suffrage. In 1886, in response to the perceived overcautious attitude of DK in the question of women suffrage, Matilde Bajer founded the Kvindelig Fremskridtsforening (or KF, 1886–1904) to deal exclusively