Women’s suffrage is back in the news thanks the 2015 release of the film Suffragette. The movie follows a young woman in 1912 London caught up in the suffrage movement. Most of the characters are fictional, but Emmeline Pankhurst and Emily Davison were real individuals.
A suffragist was someone who believed in women’s right to vote, while a suffragette protested using violent methods.
Let’s take a look at the timeline of women’s suffrage in the English speaking world.
1792: Mary Wollstonecraft writes A Vindication of the Rights of Women. In the book, she says it is the lack of education, not nature, that makes women inferior.
1848: A Women’s Rights Convention is held in Seneca Falls, New York. Women in Quebec are disenfranchised when the law is changed to ensure only men can vote.
1850: Ontario grants women the right to vote in school trustee elections.
1872: 16 women are arrested in the U.S. for trying to vote in the presidential election. The National Society of Women’s Suffrage is formed in the UK.
1874: The Women’s Christian Temperance Movement, a proponent of suffrage, is founded.
1887: The U.S. Senate votes against women’s suffrage.
1890: National American Woman Suffrage Movement forms in the U.S.
1893: Women in New Zealand are given universal suffrage; one is elected to office that year. Colorado is the first U.S. state to give women the right to vote in state elections.
1900: In most of Canada, women have won the right to vote in municipal elections.
1903: Australia grants women the right to vote.
1910: National Conference of Women endorses suffrage in Canada.
1916: Manitoba becomes the first province to grant women the right to vote in provincial elections.
1917: The Wartime Election Act grants the wives, mothers and sisters, age 21 and older, of Canada servicemen, as well as women serving in the medical corps, the right to vote in federal elections.
1918: All Canadian women older than 21 granted federal suffrage. Women age 30 and older given the same right in the UK.
1920: 19th amendment gives U.S. women 21 and older the right to vote in federal elections.
1928: All women over 21 enfranchised in the UK.
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Updated: 19 October 2020
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