Global Suffrage

Photograph, suffragettes holding signs in London, 1912 November 21

Photograph, suffragettes holding signs in London, November 21, 1912

The movement for women’s suffrage was international. In 1893, New Zealand was the first country to grant women the vote. It was followed by Australia (1902); Finland (1906); Norway (1913); Denmark (1915); Canada ( 1917); Austria, Germany, Poland, and Russia (1918); the Netherlands (1919); and the United States (1920). Equal suffrage was not granted in Britain and Ireland until 1928.

Souvenir tissue paper, from the Women's Suffrage March and Mass Meeting at the Albert Hall, 1908 June 13

Souvenir tissue paper, from the Women's Suffrage March and Mass Meeting at Albert Hall, June 13, 1908

Flyer, “Public Meeting for Enfranchisement of Women” hosted at Nottingham Trade Hall, produced by the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, England, undated

Flyer, “Public Meeting for Enfranchisement of Women” hosted at Nottingham Trade Hall, produced by the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, England, undated

Suffrage was often won piecemeal, over time. In 1889, the Franchise Act gave British women the right to vote but dictated that women could not run for public office or election. In 1902, the Parliamentary Franchise Act stipulated that only 10 women could vote in parliamentary elections in Australia. In 1910, the Conciliation Bill, which failed to become law, proposed granting voting rights only to property-owning American women. 

Bill, "A Bill to Extend the Parliamentary Franchise to Women," England, 1889

Bill, "A Bill to Extend the Parliamentary Franchise to Women," England, 1889

Cartoon, "Mr. Punch's Russian Ballet" by John Bernard Partridge, Punch's Almanack, 1913

Cartoon, "Mr. Punch's Russian Ballet" by John Bernard Partridge, Punch's Almanack, 1913

Published in 1913, this cartoon depicts the major events of the year as a Russian ballet. It includes a depiction of British politician Henry Asquith and his opposition to the women's suffrage movement.

Broadside, National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies Information Handout, produced by the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, 1912 February Broadside, National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies Information Handout, produced by the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, 1912 February

Broadside, National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies Information Handout, produced by the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, February 1912