There are four contexts in which women have won voting rights: as part of a universal reform for all citizens (15 percent of countries that granted women suffrage); imposed by a conqueror or colonial metropole (28 percent); gradually, after some men had been enfranchised (44 percent); or a hybrid category, often in the wake of re-democratization (14 percent). This essay outlines the global patterns of these reforms and argues that in a plurality of cases, where women's suffrage was gradual, enfranchisement depended on an electoral logic. Politicians subject to competition who believed women would, on average, support their party, supported reform. The suffrage movement provided information, and a potential mobilization apparatus, for politicians to draw on after the vote was extended. Together, both activism and electoral incentives were imperative for reform, providing important lessons for feminist mobilization today.
Voting, either by voice or by secret ballot, has been around for a long time. But the idea that all citizens living under democratic governments should have the right to vote, regardless of sex, was once radical for both its class politics and its gender politics. Although many autonomous European communities used voting to determine local policy, voting as a way to organize political contests in large nationstates really began to take hold in the late eighteenth century. With the exception of France–which decreed that all men could vote during its (hastily reversed) first revolution in 1789–most of the first nations to adopt electoral governance extended the vote only to a select group of men. Typically, these men were from the landed elite and often had to be “householders,” meaning that they were the person legally responsible for others that resided in their household. Under these rules, sons who lived at home may not have been allowed an independent vote, and in some places, such as the United Kingdom and Sweden, possession of more than one domicile (for example, a country house) allowed male householders an additional vote for each place where their property was located. Since plural voting arrangements gave men with more property more official say, social class and sex determined early voting rights in a concrete way.
Over the course of the nineteenth century, many countries in Western Europe and the Americas experienced economic growth due to imperialism (which thrived on resource extraction and slave labor) and industrialization (which thrived on primary goods from the new worlds and poorly paid labor of men, women, and children). In places where voting rights were tied to specific levels of wealth, or to educational or literacy requirements, men could gradually acquire voting rights as their incomes rose above the threshold or as they became educated.1 Although there are a few exceptions, women, even if they met income or educational requirements, were typically unable to select their representatives or represent others in government.2 By the mid-nineteenth century, the few places where women had previously cast ballots (like in New Jersey or present-day Québec) rewrote their rules to make explicit that only men were included. The illiberality of the so-called liberal regimes of the nineteenth century has thus been an important topic of study among gender scholars.3
Popular movements for men's and women's franchise rights began to percolate after the 1840s, and in 1848, Switzerland became the first country to grant a lasting manhood franchise (though, ironically, it was the last major European country to allow women to vote, in 1971, trailed only by Liechtenstein).4 In country after country the connection between property and “interest,” that is, between land ownership and a philosophically decreed legitimate stake in governance, was shucked off in favor of a system of one man, one vote. Of course, most countries did not go so far as to say that all men could vote.5 Many countries that moved to a broad male franchise continued to exclude ethnic and racial minorities. And other groups that were considered dependents–like children and wards of the state, convicts, or the mentally ill–could easily have their voting rights taken away. By the logic of economic dependence, women, who were legal property of first their fathers and then their husbands, were necessarily excluded. In most countries, if a woman needed to contract or earn wages, the signature of a man was crucial. If a woman committed a crime, the men of her family could be held responsible. Although women were considered citizens (as jurisprudence and court cases in many countries established), their duties were often different, and their rights were circumscribed.6 But during the course of the nineteenth century, the gradual acceptance of women's legal personhood, and the collapse of the householder as the basis for male political participation, cleared the legal hurdles that had prevented women's enfranchisement. The rest, as they say, is political history.
This essay paints, with broad strokes, the global picture of women and the vote. I identify four different institutional settings in which women were enfranchised and outline the global and regional patterns of enfranchisement. After briefly summarizing the big debates about causes of women's suffrage, I argue that for the largest set of countries, electoral politics and women's activism were crucial determinants of the timing of women's enfranchisement. I make the case that feminists today have a lot to learn from the failures and successes of the women's suffrage activists. Far from being a mere bourgeois women's movement that serves to embarrass rather than inspire, it bears stressing that in most countries, suffrage activism encompassed women from across the class and racial and ethnic spectra. The way that movement leaders at times successfully corralled these different sets of actors, all with different interests, and sometimes gave into baser impulses in their single-minded quest for the vote, are informative for the intersectional politics of the twenty-first century.
There are many levels of government in which elections can be used to pick leaders: from local school board elections, to municipal or state level elections, to national parliamentary or congressional elections, to supernational elections for the European Union. Although in most countries a single national body determines who has the right to vote at these different electoral levels, some federal countries–like the United States, Canada, Mexico, Germany, and Switzerland–allow subnational governments to delineate voting rules. Often, governments tested the waters of women's electoral participation by allowing women to partake in local elections prior to extending national voting rights. These lower levels of enfranchisement may have been “concessions” to stave off more encompassing demands for gender equality, or they may have served a trial function, allowing politicians to observe and learn more about women's political engagement and decision-making.
In addition to the multiple sites where voting occurs, voting rights can also take on multiple forms. “Limited male suffrage” rules allowed only some men to vote, while “manhood suffrage” allowed all men to participate. Many countries–even those that had granted manhood franchise–first experimented with women voters under limited rules, for example by allowing wealthy women to vote prior to opening the polls to all women (Norway and the United Kingdom). If the rules were applied in the same way for men and women, then we say that women had “equal suffrage.” If all adult men and women could vote, we call this “universal suffrage.” As several scholars have noted, countries in Latin America that used educational or literacy requirements to determine voting rights, or the United States, Canada, and South Africa, which maintained racial exclusions until the 1960s or later, allowed women to partake in equal suffrage throughout most of the twentieth century, but did not achieve universal suffrage until relatively recently.
In 1880, virtually no women had access to the electoral franchise at the national level. The first movers included the Isle of Man, which allowed women to vote for its independent legislature, the Tynwald, beginning in 1881; several states on America's Western frontier (which had authority to grant suffrage at all levels of election); and the semisovereign governments in New Zealand and Australia. Beginning in the 1910s, equal suffrage rights–that is, women's right to vote on the same terms as men–proceeded at a quick clip.7 By 1930, more than thirty countries had extended the equal franchise and, since 1950, every new constitution that provided for male franchise rights has included women on the same terms.8
There were distinctive regional patterns of enfranchisement around the world. Figure 1 presents the number of countries in each region that extended equal suffrage to women by decade. The charts are organized by the earliest average regional date of enfranchisement to the latest. Since some regions (like North America) have fewer countries than other regions (like Europe and Central Asia), the lines will be lower for the whole region, but the figure highlights key moments of change.
The North American and European countries were the first to rapidly expand franchise rights to women, with high growth rates beginning in 1910 and again around the end of World War II (when France, Spain, and Italy enfranchised women). The early European surge includes Finland, the first to extend universal voting rights in 1911, and a large number of its neighboring countries that agglomerated into the Soviet Union at the end of World War I. Suffrage adoption took off in East Asia and the Pacific, as well as the Latin American countries, in the 1940s. Nearly every Latin American country had granted women voting rights by the 1960s, but several countries in East Asia and the Pacific held out until later in the century.9 Sub-Saharan Africa saw a large expansion in women's rights around the 1950s, which peaked with the massive decolonization efforts and shift toward independence in the 1960s.
In addition to regional diversity in the timing of enfranchisement, there were several different pathways that countries took to women's suffrage: universal, imposed, gradualist, and hybrid (see Figure 2).10 In the universalist path, countries granted universal franchise to men and women at the same time, the first time suffrage was extended. The imposed route occurred when a colonial metropole decreed women's suffrage in its territories, or when suffrage was insisted upon by an occupying power, for example at the end of a war. The gradualist route implies an alternation between men's and women's inclusion. There are several variants of this, but typically countries went from limited male, to manhood, to universal suffrage.11 Finally, there are hybrid cases where countries may have allowed some men to vote early on, and then a new constitution implemented after regime change (or after periods of dictatorship) allowed for universal suffrage. In the world as a whole, universal franchise was implemented in 15 percent of countries that granted women's suffrage, while the hybrid category applies to 14 percent of countries. Imposed suffrage was second most common (28 percent), while gradual enfranchisement was the most common pathway (about 44 percent of today's countries).
Figure 2 reveals striking differences in the pathway to enfranchisement by region. For example, the most common route to enfranchisement in East Asia and the Pacific countries, and nations in Sub-Saharan Africa, which were heavily colonized, was by imposition. After independence, many of the later democratizers in East Asia and the Pacific, as well as in South Asia, went for universal extension in one fell swoop. We see too that the gradualist path dominated North America, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, and Europe and Central Asia, a pattern that is related to early moves in some of these countries toward limited male franchise rights. The varying regional patterns of enfranchisement hint at the notion that women's enfranchisement was related to the conditions of imperialism and the overall trajectory of democratization within countries, although we know a lot less about imposed suffrage than we should.
Figure 3 provides a final way of visualizing the path toward suffrage over time, demonstrating the historical prominence of the gradualist path–most countries that adopted suffrage for women had already extended some form of voting rights to men–and of the imposed path, suggesting that once the first democracies adopted suffrage they were not shy to impose these values on the world at large, particularly in their imperial outposts.
Over the years, there have been many social-scientific arguments forwarded to explain variations in the timing of women's suffrage, including that women won voting rights because of their participation in war, that enfranchisement happened naturally as a result of industrialization, that it was an apolitical gift when the stakes were low, or that it stemmed from men's political needs.12 Typically, these theories evolved from thinking about cross-national differences in the timing of suffrage, rather than from thinking about specific cases of women's enfranchisement.
Historians and most feminist political scientists and sociologists who have studied suffrage extensions in specific cases give more credence to the importance of women's mobilization for the vote, both within domestic movements and within international feminist organizations.13 What I suggest in my recent book Forging the Franchise: The Political Origins of the Women's Vote is that while there may not be a unified cause of women's enfranchisement, specific logics may have emerged within particular pathways. I focus on explaining gradualist cases: that is, women's enfranchisement in a context where some men had already attained the right to vote. In this set of countries, I argue that heightened electoral competition could provide an incentive for politicians to reform electoral law. When the strategy of the women's movement provided information consistent with certain parties' electoral needs–in other words, when some parties believed they would benefit electorally from the votes of mobilized women–electoral competition, in combination with a strong movement, produced reform.14
The electoral argument helps to make sense of a series of puzzles that crop up in country-specific accounts of enfranchisement related to the timing of reform and the political alliances that brought reform to bear. For example, why did some countries resist reform in one year but then accept it the very following legislative session? Well, this could happen if an election was on the horizon and one of the vulnerable but powerful parties hoped to win with women's votes (such was the case with the Liberal Party in Québec in 1939).15
In addition to making sense of quick reversals regarding suffrage legislation, the electoral politics argument also helps to combat the idea that conservative ideology was what prevented women from winning the vote. Indeed, if we look at which party was in power when suffrage was granted in thirty-two countries from Europe, Latin America, and Central Asia, we find that the ideology of the head of state was nearly evenly split between left, center, and right.16 That is to say, conservatives were just as likely to preside over suffrage reform as centrist liberals or as far leftists. (In Latin America, however, where the suffrage extensions occurred slightly later than in Europe, a leftist was the head of state in seven of the twelve countries for which I have information.) Why would conservatives support women's votes? Several electoral reasons emerge, including that they might try to put their stamp on a reform they knew was coming down the line so as not to lose out in the next election (the strategy of the conservatives in federal Canada in 1917–1918). But perhaps more important, in many countries, conservatives thought they could win the lion's share of women's votes (as in Chile, where the Catholic Church was believed to have, in the disfranchised women's population, a “feminine reserve”).17
Finally, electoral competition also helps to explain why many of the initial extensions of voting rights to women were limited: that is, on different terms than men, often requiring women to be wealthier or older than men had to be to vote. Such was the case in the first Norwegian suffrage extension in 1907 to only propertied women, and the 1918 reform in the United Kingdom that limited the vote to wealthier, older women.18 When conservative parties could be forced to agree to reform, they would only do so under conditions that they thought would not put them at an extreme disadvantage. This often included demanding that only women who were potential supporters of their party (and hence would act as a force for stability) be included.
The age-old question for scholars of suffrage is: did the women suffragists matter and to what extent? It can be difficult to argue that women were responsible for their own political emancipation because women did not take up arms against the state in order to win the vote, but instead had to earn it in the context of electoral and legislative politics. This can make it seem like women were merely there to march in flowing gowns for a public that had already changed its mind about women's rights. But to the extent that we can say any social movement mattered for securing whatever particular right, it is definitely safe to say that the suffrage movement was important.
Scholars disagree about the way in which the movement mattered, offering explanations like the use of public demonstrations (in the United Kingdom and Switzerland), the collection of large-scale petitions (in New Zealand, the United States, and Sweden), the pressure of the international feminist movement (in Latin America), the deployment of insider tactics like corralling legislators and log-rolling, changing public opinion, or doing favors for politicians or campaigns. Many scholars have noted that the places with the largest movements were in the first wave of enfranchising countries, and that the use of public tactics like holding rallies and marches was correlated with early enfranchisement.19 The late enfranchisement in places like France and Switzerland and in many Latin American countries are thus partly attributable to the more circumspect actions of wishful suffragists.
Yet the fact that male legislators in elected chambers presided over reforms has made it difficult to claim that any movement was decisive. This is especially because good cross-national data on the size of the suffrage movement over time do not exist, and because it is clear that a few countries extended the vote to women in the absence of a massive local push by women for these rights (for example, in Turkey). Hence the exact role the women's movement played for winning suffrage is part of a scholarly dispute. A key intuition from political economy, though, is that powerful groups do not concede power to others without some impetus, and women's mobilization was the crucial impetus that put suffrage on the political agenda locally, nationally, and internationally.
This is not to say that women who wanted the vote came together harmoniously to forward their agenda. In fact, the internal and external tensions between suffragists and would-be suffragists across class and racial groups have been the subject of many excellent monographs in history and political science. Although in the United States the racial conflict was a particularly pernicious cleavage that affected the nature of the suffrage movement, it is important to understand that each country had its own cleavage. In France, the cleavage was related to church-state relations and republicanism; in parts of Latin America, it was about the Church's role in fledgling democracies and conflicts over regime type;20 in Switzerland, the linguistic and cantonal cleavage reigned supreme; and in many of the African countries, the cleavage was racial and ethnic, between colonizers and colonized. When women from the more privileged classes were very distant–ideologically and materially–from the majority of women, the difficulties of forming a cross-cleavage alliance among disparate groups of women loomed large.
My contention is that the size of the movement in any given country was related to the interests of would-be movement leaders. Many of the countries that extended the vote later in the twentieth century had high degrees of inequality throughout the 1900s. In these places, the types of women who may have had the education, initiative, and resources to commit to a long-term social campaign were often more concerned with maintaining their class privilege, or with preserving their preferred form of government, than with casting a ballot.21 In some countries, commitment to other political goals, like socialism and anti-imperialism, crowded out suffrage mobilization among otherwise feminist activists. Thus, the size of the movement can itself be viewed as a response to local level political and economic conditions and the desires of would-be suffragists. Viewed in this way, it becomes possible to understand some of the tensions that have been well documented between women's organizations, such as why massive antisuffrage organizations emerged in many countries (with women in charge of the political campaign against women's involvement in politics). It also helps to understand why, in contexts where male suffrage had already reached manhood status, women's suffrage groups were often less well organized than when there was a limited male suffrage: suffrage extensions would have much more profound consequences when they had to apply to all women, and often representatives from the upper class were unwilling to take that bargain.
Finally it is important to acknowledge that although much of the pressure for the first women's suffrage extensions was internally derived (albeit with early and fruitful friendships and correspondences of women hailing from different nationstates), in many cases, the international suffrage movement proved important both for inspiring and motivating local political suffragists, and for exerting a fair amount of moral suasion on male politicians. Although national level politics were still instrumental for determining the exact coalitions that supported women's votes and the timing of the enfranchisement, the international democratic consensus exerted considerable normative pull in the post–World War II era in the direction of minimally equal political rights for women.22
What can we learn from the suffrage movement that can inform the feminist politics of this new century? The first key lesson is that women did not win the vote primarily by waiting for men to wake up and realize the justice of the claim, but instead had to fight–both meticulously behind the scenes as well as loudly in public–to be taken seriously. Although notable men did aid suffrage in many contexts, the main protagonists in this movement, and all of its true leaders, were women.23 For those women, the activities that they engaged in were pushing the boundaries of the time, even if the mainstream suffragists were less avant-garde than some of the far-left feminists.
Second, the class and racial politics that cleaved through the movements, many of which may seem like an embarrassing stain on a momentous achievement, actually provide analytic leverage for understanding the size and scope of social movements today. The fact that many of the leaders of the suffrage movement were upper-middle class does not imply that the movement was won by and for the bourgeois. To the contrary, the integration of women from all walks of life, and particularly the activism of immigrants and the working classes, were crucial in most countries, and particularly in those with the two longest and most sustained movements, the United States and the United Kingdom.24 But what the suffragists had that feminists today have not found is a single issue to guide their fundraising and focus. Although suffragists wanted policy changes in a host of arenas, coalescing on a single issue may have provided the momentum for their sustained social movement. It also allowed many of the largest umbrella organizations to claim nonpartisanship and therefore court women from many camps. The feminist impulse today does not seem to have such a unifying impulse, and perhaps too few efforts are made to coordinate with women from very different ideological traditions.
Yet even if feminists can find an issue to agree upon, this does not mean that dissent from the radical fringe should be suppressed. Because leaders of the more mainstream movement often decried the tactics of the radical fringes–such as with the steady Millicent Fawcett and the pugnacious Emmeline Pankhurst in the United Kingdom, or the formidable Carrie Catt and the brazen Alice Paul in the United States–historians (and the popular arts) have and will continue to have a lot to say about the seeming “cat fights” between suffragists and suffrage organizations. But the radicals may have served an important function for the success of the mainstream movement. The existence of a militant wing allowed the moderates access to the press and to politicians under the mantle of respectability. This increased the status and sway of the suffrage centrists. In this sense, if the radical fringe allowed the demands of the centrists to be viewed more favorably by men in power, both wings were integral to the victory.
Third, although women did not form a solid voting bloc in most countries, it bears stressing that many major changes in women's rights were achieved along the road to suffrage.25 Many of the same women who fought for suffrage argued for the right to own property, to transact commercially, to have intellectual rights to their own inventions, to safe working conditions, to maintain their citizenship even if they married foreigners, and to birth control. These legislative achievements should be viewed as part of the legacy of the suffrage movement. What these lessons imply for politics today is that women's rights are not just normal goods that emerge automatically over time, but rather are fragile resources that have to be demanded, tended, and defended. As the saying goes, well-behaved women have rarely made history.
On earning-into the voting population in the United States, see David A. Bateman, Disenfranchising Democracy: Constructing the Electorate in the United States, the United Kingdom, and France (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018). On literacy requirements and the vote, see Stanley L. Engerman and Kenneth L. Sokoloff, “The Evolution of Suffrage Institutions in the New World,” The Journal of Economic History 65 (4) (2005): 891–921.
Electoral laws often differentiated between “active” suffrage–the right to vote–and “passive” suffrage–the right to hold office. Most countries extended both to women at the same time, but there are some exceptions like Belgium, the Netherlands, and Nepal; see Dawn Teele, Forging the Franchise: The Political Origins of the Women's Vote (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2018), 193, note 52. Although typically women could not vote at all until the twentieth century, John Markoff suggests a few exceptions: in medieval and early modern Europe, communities in which local rules were decided by vote often allowed women who owned property to partake in decision-making. In colonial times, New World enclaves saw voting by property owning, tax-paying women and widows in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and parts of present-day Québec. John Markoff, “Margins, Centers, and Democracy: The Paradigmatic History of Women's Suffrage,” Signs 29 (11) (2003): 85–116.
Important works in political theory include those by Susan Okin, who famously argued that the assumption of the “private sphere” of women's lives meant that women were only partially individualized in liberal societies. The ideological constraints of liberal thought have put feminists in a constant tension as to whether to pursue policies that accept difference between men and women or to argue for equality tout court. Nancy F. Cott, “Marriage and Women's Citizenship in the United States, 1830–1934,” The American Historical Review 103 (5) (1998): 1440–1474. And as Eileen McDonagh shows, states that clung longer to hereditary monarchial institutions often ended up being more inclusive toward women in politics due to their emphasis on kinship networks. Eileen McDonagh, “Political Citizenship and Democratization: The Gender Paradox,” American Political Science Review 96 (3) (2002): 535–552.
For an account of the Swiss suffrage movement, see Lee Ann Banaszak, Why Movements Succeed or Fail: Opportunity, Culture, and the Struggle for Women's Suffrage (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996).
For a theoretical discussion of the ethics of disenfranchisement of various groups, see Claudio López-Guerra, Democracy and Disenfranchisement: The Morality of Electoral Exclusions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).
Whether women were citizens and whether citizens had voting rights was adjudicated in several countries. For example, the Chilean Civil Code from the nineteenth century established that the masculine noun ciudadano applied to both men and women, but women who tried to register to vote in 1875 were prevented from doing so. Asunción Lavrin, Women, Feminism, and Social Change in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay, 1890–1940 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995), 288. Note that in some countries, women who married foreigners often lost their citizenship rights, though not so for men (this was the case in the United States until the Cable Act in 1922). See Cott, “Marriage and Women's Citizenship in the United States.” Women in many Latin American countries including Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, and Uruguay had better nationality rights than women in the United States. International feminists tried to standardize the laws during the Hague Codification Conference of 1930. See Katherine M. Marino, Feminism for the Americas: The Making of an International Human Rights Movement (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2019).
Australia excluded aboriginals in its initial constitution, and the U.S. states, via Jim Crow, excluded most Black people from voting, hence both are cases of equal suffrage. Since New Zealand's colonists included Maori voters among their electorate, the 1893 reform was universal.
The global norm change after the 1950s could be due to the 1945 Equal Rights Section of the UN Charter and the UN Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. As Marino describes in Feminism for the Americas, the UN declarations were important for cementing the legitimacy of women's rights, including suffrage, in internationalist circles in Latin America. On diffusion, see Francisco O. Ramirez, Yasemin Soysal, and Suzanne Shanahan, “The Changing Logic of Political Citizenship: Cross-National Acquisition of Women's Suffrage Rights, 1890 to 1990,” American Sociological Review 62 (5) (1997): 735–745.
On the literacy and property requirements that remained in Latin America after the 1960s, refer to Engerman and Sokoloff, “The Evolution of Suffrage Institutions in the New World.”
These are my categories; see Teele, Forging the Franchise, introduction. But another way to conceptualize the pattern is whether the reforms were “joint track” with the male working classes or piecemeal, with wealthier women included before the masses; see Blanca Rodríguez-Ruiz and Ruth Rubio Marín, The Struggle for Female Suffrage in Europe: Voting to Become Citizens (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012), introduction.
Norway is one of the few places that had manhood franchise (1898) but that limited the women's vote, at first to property holders in 1907. By 1913, the contradiction was eliminated and universal franchise instantiated.
For an in-depth discussion of social scientific theories of women's enfranchisement, see Teele, Forging the Franchise, chap. 2. On the role of war, see Daniel L. Hicks, “War and the Political Zeitgeist: Evidence from the History of Female Suffrage,” European Journal of Political Economy 31 (C) (2013): 60–81. Hicks finds that the correlation between war and suffrage is driven by European countries and World War II (ibid., 67).
Banaszak, Why Movements Succeed or Fail. See also Ellen DuBois, “Woman Suffrage and the Left: An International Socialist-Feminist Perspective,” New Left Review 186 (1996): 20–45; and Eleanor Flexner and Ellen Fitzpatrick, Century of Struggle: The Woman's Rights Movement in the United States (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press, 1995). For broad exposure to movements for suffrage around the world, there are a few great edited volumes that feature chapters by country experts. On Australasia and the Pacific, see Louise Edwards and Mina Roces, eds., Women's Suffrage in Asia: Gender, Nationalism and Democracy (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2006), 127–151; and Caroline Daley and Melanie Nolan, eds., Suffrage and Beyond: International Feminist Perspectives (New York: New York University Press, 1994). On Western Europe, see Rodríguez-Ruiz and Marín, The Struggle for Female Suffrage in Europe. And for work on a variety of countries, including some in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, see Irma Sulkunen, Seija-Leena Nevala-Nurmi, and Pirjo Markkola, eds., Suffrage, Gender and Citizenship: International Perspectives on Parliamentary Reforms (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008). To read about internationalism in the suffrage movement, especially in Latin America, see Ann Towns, “The Inter-American Commission of Women and Women's Suffrage, 1920–1945,” Journal of Latin American Studies 42 (4) (2010): 779–807.
Recently some government scholars have argued that instead of looking to the women's movement for information about how women will vote, politicians in New Zealand used the heuristic of women's dispositions to infer women's future political loyalties. Mariel J. Barnes, “Divining Disposition: The Role of Elite Beliefs and Gender Narratives in Women's Suffrage,” Comparative Politics (forthcoming).
Sylvie D'Augerot-Arend, “Why So Late? Cultural and Institutional Factors in the Granting of Québec and French Women's Political Rights,” Journal of Canadian Studies 26 (1) (1991): 138–165; and Manon Tremblay, Québec Women and Legislative Representation, trans. Käthe Roth (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2010).
These figures are calculated for thirty-two countries using Thomas Brambor, Johannes Lindvall, and Annika Stjernquist, “The Ideology of Heads of Government, 1870–2012,” Codebook, Version 1.5 (Lund: Department of Political Science, Lund University, 2017).
Joan Sangster, One Hundred Years of Struggle: The History of Women and the Vote in Canada (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2018). On Chile and the Catholic Church, see Erika Maza Valenzuela, “Catolicismo, anticlericalismo y la extensión del sufragio a la mujer en Chile,” Estudios Públicos 58 (1995): 137–197.
Key sources on the suffrage movement in the United Kingdom include Sandra Stanley Holton, Feminism and Democracy: Women's Suffrage and Reform Politics in Britain, 1900–1918 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986); Martin Pugh, The March of the Women: A Revisionist Analysis of the Campaign for Women's Suffrage, 1866–1914 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000); and Susan Kingsley Kent, Sex and Suffrage in Britain, 1860–1914 (Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge, 2005).
Banaszak, Why Movements Succeed or Fail; Patricia Grimshaw, Women's Suffrage in New Zealand (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1972); and Holly J. McCammon, Karen E. Campbell, Ellen M. Granberg, and Christine Mowery, “How Movements Win: Gendered Opportunity Structures and U.S. Women's Suffrage Movements, 1866 to 1919,” American Sociological Review 66 (1) (2001): 49–70.
See Isabel Castillo, “Explaining Female Suffrage Reform in Latin America: Motivation Alignment, Cleavages, and Timing of Reform” (Ph.D. diss., Northwestern University, 2019).
In Teele, Forging the Franchise, I present evidence of the ambivalence about the vote for feminists in the United States, France, and the United Kingdom, but other authors have noted similar patterns elsewhere. For example, in 1922, a prominent Chilean feminist and newly minted suffragist Amanda Labarca wrote to the famous Uruguayan feminist Paulina Luisi expressing concerns that women would vote according to the will of Church leaders: “Would the vote of women in Chile favor the liberal evolution of the country or would it delay it by increasing the numbers and the power of the clerical-conservative party?” Cited in Corinne A. Pernet, “Chilean Feminists, the International Women's Movement, and Suffrage, 1915–1950,” Pacific Historical Review 69 (4) (2000): 672. Pernet attributes the “slow pace” of Chilean women's activism for the vote to Labarca's concerns.
The scholarship on the international women's movements and collaborations is quite well developed. An early text is Leila J. Rupp, Worlds of Women: The Making of an International Women's Movement (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1997). In addition, see Towns, “The Inter-American Commission of Women and Women's Suffrage”; and Margaret H. McFadden, Golden Cables of Sympathy: The Transatlantic Sources of Nineteenth-Century Feminism (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2015). For a devastating account of the imperialism of U.S. suffragists in the Americas writ large (which also highlights Latin American feminists' contributions to antifascist movements and to human rights in the international sphere), see Marino, Feminism for the Americas.
Brooke Kroeger, The Suffragents: How Women Used Men to Get the Vote (New York: SUNY Press, 2017); and Ben Griffin, The Politics of Gender in Victorian Britain: Masculinity, Political Culture and the Struggle for Women's Rights (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).
For instance, see Angela Y. Davis, Women, Race, and Class (New York: Vintage, 1981); Laura E. Free, Suffrage Reconstructed: Gender, Race, and Voting Rights in the Civil War Era (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2015); Ellen Carol DuBois, “Working Women, Class Relations, and Suffrage Militance: Harriot Stanton Blatch and the New York Woman Suffrage Movement, 1894–1909,” The Journal of American History 74 (1) (1987): 34–58; Holton, Feminism and Democracy; Pugh, The March of the Women; Susan E. Marshall, Splintered Sisterhood: Gender and Class in the Campaign against Woman Suffrage (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1997); and Susan Englander, Class Conflict and Coalition in the California Woman Suffrage Movement, 1907–1912: The San Francisco Wage Earners' Suffrage League (New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1992).
J. Kevin Corder and Christina Wolbrecht, Counting Women's Ballots (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016); and Anna L. Harvey, “The Political Consequences of Suffrage Exclusion: Organizations, Institutions, and the Electoral Mobilization of Women,” Social Science History 20 (1) (1996).