September 03, 2003

Women's Rights

It's easy to take our voting rights for granted in America and other democratic countries. Women in particular often forget that our right to vote is a relatively new thing.

In the U.S., it was the 19th Amendment in 1920 that guaranteed women the right to vote in all state and federal elections. America, the birthplace of democracy, was not the leader in women's suffrage, however. That distinction belongs to New Zealand, who extended full voting rights to women in 1893. In 1902, Australia gave women the right to vote in national elections.

Around the same time America finally granted women the vote, Great Britain, Canada, Finland, German, and Sweden also gave their women the vote. By the mid-1900s France, Italy, India, China, and Japan had followed suit. By the 1990s, the only country in the world that gave the right to vote to men but not women was Kuwait.

Many Kuwaiti women run businesses. They are educated. But they still don't have the vote. Hopefully that is about to change. America's occupation of Iraq is putting additional pressure on the Kuwaiti government to extend equal rights to women. Kuwait's parliamentary elections this summer may have put enough supporters in office to finally give women equality in Kuwait.

Support for women's rights is strong in the capital, but traditional Islamic leaders in the more rural areas have long fought against extending voting rights to their women. In 1999 the parliamentary vote was 30-32. So close, but not close enough. Let's hope the supporters in the parliament are numerous enough to do the right thing this time around.

Posted by Jennifer at September 3, 2003 11:08 AM


I've always wondered about this. Could women in certain States and/or cities and towns vote? How wide-spread was women's sufferage in 1920? Jus' curious...

Posted by: Tuning Spork at September 3, 2003 11:12 PM

I'll post more on this Friday.

Posted by: Jennifer at September 4, 2003 02:08 AM

Can you have more on the womens civil rights movement please!

Love Ya,
Cho Chi

Posted by: Greer LeGardeur at October 9, 2003 06:00 PM