Women’s March is Forever
On January 21, 2017 thousands if not millions of Women gathered to march in protest. As people in 60+ countries around the world marched for women’s rights on January 21, 2017, travel through time and uncover key moments of women’s movements from 1911-2015. Yes, this Women’s march is forever. Every woman has the right to secure their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
It started in 1911 and perhaps even before and look how far we have come. Or have we? It seems that the same issues that existed in 1911 are still prevalent and are issues that have deterred women not just in this country but in several countries around the world. But, honestly we can’t tackle the current issues without look back into history. The Women’s Suffragettes
British suffragettes demonstrating for the right to vote in 1911 image from Wikipedia
U.S. women suffragists demonstrating in February 1913 image from Wikipedia
Women’s suffrage (also known as female suffrage, woman suffrage or woman’s right to vote) is the right of women to vote in elections. Limited voting rights were gained by women in Finland, Iceland, Sweden and some Australian colonies and western U.S. states in the late 19th century. National and international organizations formed to coordinate efforts to gain voting rights, especially the International Woman Suffrage Alliance (founded in 1904, Berlin, Germany), and also worked for equal civil rights for women.
In 1881, the Isle of Man (a Crown dependency, not part of the UK) enacted the Manx Election Act, which gave women who owned property the right to vote in the country’s Parliament, Tynwald. In 1893, New Zealand, then a self-governing British colony, granted adult women the right to vote. The self-governing colony of South Australia, now an Australian state, did the same in 1894 and women were able to vote in the next election, which was held in 1895. South Australia also permitted women to stand for election alongside men. In 1901, the six British colonies of Australia federated to become the Commonwealth of Australia, and women acquired the right to vote and stand in federal elections from 1902, but discriminatory restrictions against Aboriginal people, including women, voting in national elections, were not completely removed until 1962.
The first European country to introduce women’s suffrage was the Grand Duchy of Finland, then part of the Russian Empire, which elected the world’s first women Members of Parliament in the 1907 parliamentary elections. Norway followed, granting full women’s suffrage in 1913. Most European, Asian and African countries did not pass women’s suffrage until after World War I.
Late adopters in Europe were Spain in 1931, France in 1944, Italy in 1946, Greece in 1952, San Marino in 1959, Monaco in 1962,Andorra in 1970, Switzerland in 1971 at federal level, (and at local canton level between 1959 in the cantons of Vaud and Neuchâtel and 1991 in the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden,) and Liechtenstein in 1984. In addition, although women in Portugal obtained suffrage in 1931, this was with stronger restrictions than those of men; full gender equality in voting was only granted in 1976.
In Canada, the United States and a few Latin American nations passed women’s suffrage before World War II while the vast majority of Latin American nations established women’s suffrage in the 1940s (see table in Summary below). The last Latin American country to give women the right to vote was Paraguay in 1961.
Woman Suffrage Headquarters, Cleveland, 1913
Eighteen female MPs joined the Turkish Parliament in 1935
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 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 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.
Of currently existing independent countries, New Zealand was the first to acknowledge women’s right to vote in 1893 when it was a self-governing British colony. Unrestricted women’s suffrage in terms of voting rights (women were not initially permitted to stand for election) was adopted in New Zealand in 1893. Following a successful movement led by Kate Sheppard, the women’s suffrage bill was adopted weeks before the general election of that year. The women of the British protectorate of Cook Islands obtained the same right soon after and beat New Zealand’s women to the polls in 1893.
The self-governing British colony of South Australia enacted universal suffrage in 1895, also allowing women to stand for the colonial parliament that year. The Commonwealth of Australia federated in 1901, with women voting and standing for office in some states. The Australian Federal Parliament extended voting rights to all adult women for Federal elections from 1902 (with the exception of Aboriginal women in some states).
The first European country to introduce women’s suffrage was the Grand Duchy of Finland in 1906. It was among reforms passed following the 1905 uprising. As a result of the 1907 parliamentary elections, Finland’s voters elected 19 women as the first female members of a representative parliament; they took their seats later that year.
In the years before World War I, women in Norway (1913) also won the right to vote, as did women in the remaining Australian states. Denmark granted women’s suffrage in 1915. Near the end of the war, Canada, Russia, Germany, and Poland also recognized women’s right to vote. Propertied British women over 30 had the vote in 1918, Dutch women in 1919, and American women won the vote on 26 August 1920 with the passage of the 19th Amendment. 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 persons 21 years old and older. Suffrage of Turkish women introduced in 1930 for local elections and in 1934 for national elections.
French pro-suffrage poster, 1934
By the time French women were granted the suffrage in July 1944 by Charles de Gaulle‘s government in exile, 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).
After selling her home, British activist Emmeline Pankhurst travelled constantly, giving speeches throughout Britain and the United States. One of her most famous speeches, Freedom or death, was delivered in Connecticut in 1913.
The suffrage movement was a broad one, encompassing 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.
For black women, 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?”
FAST FORWARD TO 1/21/2017 —For the millions of men and women pouring into the streets around the world the March is real. The march indicates that women have a right to choose, right to dictate what happens to their bodies and how many children they have. Women have the right to health care and to birth control. It also illustrated that issues do not belong to just one country but to the world. As you will see from the pictures of women around the world that they too marched. You see now, news spreads with just a click of your cell phone camera or a quick text. Women have the right to equal pay as well. The rights of women has been an ongoing struggle for women not just in America but world-wide.
It’s also understandable that so many items, philosophies dictate our perception. However, at what point does the government have a right over it’s citizens and what they do with their bodies?
Women’s March on Washington protesters Devin Yalkin for Rolling Stone
“Three million votes! Three million votes!” they chant back.
“Off to one side, 31-year-old Courtney Miller is holding a sign that reads, “Sorry. Were my civil rights getting the way of your privilege?” She asks a man in a Confederate hat why he still wears it even though the South lost. He retorts by asking her why she has black pride – her people lost too, he says. For ten minutes, he tries (and fails) to defend an indefensible point, while she maintains her composure, trying, maybe in vain, to reason with him.”
“You never get anything accomplished by fighting, by yelling and screaming. We’re not going to get our points across. We might leave here today and agree to disagree, but maybe I said something that will make him think,” Miller says after the interaction. “I’m standing here because my grandparents had to do this. Now I have to do this. I’m hoping my kids don’t have to do this. We’re marching for the same things, and I’m getting tired.”
Every woman has the right to secure their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
For more information check out Linda Latoya Lifestyle. Org on Facebook
Credits: Inside the Historic Women’s March on Washington by Tessa Stuart for Rolling Stone
Women’s Suffrage – Wikipedia